Protests on the Israel-Gaza border fence


IDF soldiers carrying a wounded soldier through the forest. (Courtesy of Wikimedia)

Jolie Abadi, Jewish Studies Editor

Due to the protests on the security fence separating Gaza and Israel, Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman decreased the Gaza fishing zone from nine nautical miles to six nautical miles. The Gaza fishing zone is the offshore area where Palestinians are allowed to fish, off of the coastline of Gaza.

Recently, the Israeli Navy detained a Palestinian boat, with two Palestinians aboard because they passed the sanctioned fishing zone. This caused an uproar in Palestine, leading violent protests to resume on the border fence. Protests over the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital have taken place ever since Israel was declared a Jewish state. As a result, Israel warned the residents of Gaza that if they did not stop the daily terror attacks, they would reduce the span of the fishing zone to three nautical miles.

Instead of backing down, Gaza residents are continuing with their retaliation, causing the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), to fight back. The Gaza protests include the throwing of molotov cocktails, grenades, other explosives and burning tires. On October 5, three Palestinians were killed at the Gaza border fence during a protest. According to The Jerusalem Post, 20,000 people took part in the protest, and out of them, 376 were injured. It has also been reported that with the addition of this protest, in the last six months a total of 2,000 fires have been started in Israel by aerial devices, and close to 300 Palestinians have been killed. The damage of these demonstrations to both Israelis and Palestinians are truly devastating.

In response to these tragedies, the IDF opened fire regulations, with rubber bullets, as well as other techniques including air strikes to known Hamas locations and the use of tear gas, to prevent people from crossing the fence in a less harmful way. The Israeli army also plans to reinforce their troops in the Gaza border in order to prevent Palestinian terrorists from infiltrating Israel and putting citizens in jeopardy. This issue regarding the border fence has lasted for a long six months and calls for the end of the 12 year blockade of the Gaza strip.

Students here at The Weber School expressed their opinions about these events. Sophomore Ashira Rabinowitz stated “The Palestinians overacted towards a known law, and did not need to be so livid.” Her opinion sheds light on the rule had already been in place long before it was broken, so the detainment of the three Palestinians should not have been a surprise. Rabinowitz addressed the sensitive subject of IDF soldiers firing on Palestinian protests by saying, “I believe the soldiers have a right to fire because the Jewish community is being endangered.” Her response emphasizes the reason why soldiers fire upon the protestors–the safety of the Jewish community. Allowing protesters to get too close to the border fence puts them in range of close-by homes and communities. When shooting missiles, it puts Israeli soldier’s and citizen’s lives in jeopardy. In addition to this, the question of when one is no longer considered a protestor and becomes a terrorist is put into perspective. If a Palestinian is firing explosives onto Israeli land in an attempt to stir up violence, are they really a protestor?