17:18 GMT +310 December 2019
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    People gather near the home of Palestinian Islamic Jihad field commander Baha Abu Al-Atta after it was hit by an Israeli strike that killed him in Gaza City November 12, 2019

    Gaza-Border Resident: Leaving Means Uprooting, We Won't Move

    © REUTERS / MOHAMMED SALEM
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    Tensions keep brewing between Israel and the Islamic Jihad as the sides continue to exchange fire following the targeted assassination of the group's commander on Tuesday.

    While the escalation prompted many to leave their houses fearing for their lives, others decided to stay. Or Bar-Ilan, a 23-year-old resident of Kfar Gaza, a Gaza-border kibbutz, is one of them.

    Sputnik: How quiet was last night?

    Or Bar-Ilan: It was a surprisingly quiet night so we managed to rest and sleep. Yet, the word 'quiet' is relative. We had red alerts going off till after midnight.

    Firstly, there is the feeling of disappointment from the government that lacks any policy. This is the 12th round of tensions that we have experienced in the past one year and a half. The last round of the same magnitude was in May. These hostilities have wide repercussions for us all. Businesses shut down, restaurants are affected as customers are not coming and they are forced to throw away lots of food. People and even animals are scared. Property is being destroyed but the government is not rushing to reimburse people and if they do give refunds, it happens too late.

    Yet, we are ready to take the blow but we want to know that there will be some sort of a solution - either a policy or a full-scale operation that would put an end to this reality. We cannot longer swallow it without knowing there will be a response. We experience terror on a monthly, weekly and daily basis and this terror disturbs our lives. We cannot do the most basic things. For example, jogging. I used to jog in the fields but I haven't done it for a year and a half already simply because I am fearing for my life. I could potentially bump into a terrorist who can come out from a tunnel or I can be hit by a rocket. Anything can happen - this is the reality we live in. We are used to it. We haven't had any quiet since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. But we do want a solution.

    Sputnik: Are you thinking of leaving?

    Or Bar-Ilan: I don't. I am a third-generation kibbutz resident. This is my home and these are my roots. I work and volunteer here. My entire family and all my friends are from here. So leaving would mean to leave a part of me here. But I don't know if it would be responsible for me to build a family here simply because kids can be hurt. Neither do I know whether it is smart of me to stay here when everyone is moving to Tel Aviv and the center for better employment options. But I stick around because if people like me leave there will be nothing here. Only sands. We stay here so that other people, businessmen, can keep on working in Tel Aviv. We act as human shields, we protect the population.

    Sputnik: What do you think is the solution?

    Or Bar-Ilan: Both sides need lots of courage and wisdom. They need to give up on their egos and make concessions. I am sure that if Gazans have work and are able to put food on the table, they will scrap the notions of terror and violence. Right now, when they live in poverty and despair, they feel they have nothing to lose. It is profitable for me to see them flourish. If they are well off financially, we are all going to be in a better place.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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