Agricultural Terrorism Sweeps Across Israel

Palestinians use burning kites to cripple Israel’s economy.

As of June 4th, between 9,000 and 17,500 dunams of land (2,200 to 4,300 acres) has been burnt by the latest form of terrorism rising out of the Gaza Strip.

Gazan Kite terror has become a catch-all term referring to where Gazans attach burning rags or some sort of incendiary bomb to either a kite or helium balloons, releasing them in the current coming off the ocean so they’re swept into Israeli territory. This has been extremely effective in hitting Jewish fields in the Negev, becoming a devastating terrorist weapon. This phenomenon of agricultural terrorism stems from the violence occurring along the Gazan border since the March of Return demonstrations began on March 30. The Times of Israel reported, “For the past several weeks, Gazans have been regularly flying kites outfitted with containers of burning fuel, often including charcoal and bags of sugar to ensure a long, slow burn.” Some 600 kites and balloons have been launched from Gaza, sparking 198 fires.

Israeli farmers have been offered cash incentives by the Agriculture and Finance ministries to harvest their fields sooner in light of growing agricultural terrorism, according to reports from May 22.

Hamas’s goal is to completely destroy Israel, and crippling Israel’s economy by burning its crops is an effective way to do this. Palestinians want to erase the border. The Times of Israel reported one of the masked Palestinians demonstrators saying, “These are our lands, and we have the right to return to them. … We will burn your fields, which you harvest to pay for the bullets that you use to shoot children and peaceful unarmed demonstrators.” The man continued talking about the genesis of the burning kite terrorism and said, “Allah willing, it will light up and burn fields and houses. It will get to a place where it will burn a large area.”

On Monday, drone footage was released showing hundreds of acres burned by Gazan kites.

Adding to the apparent danger, there is no telling where these inferno kites and balloons will land. The Jerusalem Post reported hundreds of hectares of crops have been torched in just a few weeks, consuming crops that could have provided a living for many farmers and their families. Although no human lives have been lost by the flames, the fire damage is estimated to be in the region of NIS 5 million ($1.4 million).

To help combat this peculiar terrorism, the Israeli government has promised up to 2 million NIS (over us$500,000) to farmers to harvest their crops before July (the usual harvest time), in hopes of limiting the amount of scorched produce.

The Israeli military has also stepped in to help counter Hamas’s pyromaniac behavior. On May 6, an Israeli military aircraft struck a Hamas site with drones in response to the burning kites. The day before, fields in Kibbutz Afikim were set on fire, incinerating hundreds of bales of hay that were ready for transport.

Farmers and Israeli citizens are calling for action. The head council where the kibbutz is located said, “This is the ugly face of agricultural terrorism. A field of wheat that someone had put a lot of work into growing, harvesting and gathering was vandalized with fire within seconds. The agriculture minister and the public security minister must start showing results to their actions. The endless talk we’ve been hearing is just not cutting it.” They claim that until this threat is faced with stronger opposition, these crop casualties will go unreported.

The Jerusalem Post said, “Now is the time for the state to come to its senses and form a special branch within the police to tackle agricultural terrorism, or at least for the Agriculture Ministry to fund patrols in the same way that security guards protect buses and shopping malls, hospitals and schools.”

Kite terrorism is just another attempt by the Palestinians to defeat Israel by a different weapon of choice. Palestinians have used bombs, rockets, mortars, suicide vests, guns, knifes, bull dozers, cars, molotov cocktails, terror tunnels, and now flaming kites and balloons. Put together, it’s clear many Palestinians will use any and all resources they have to put to flight the Jews.

However, despite the bleak outlook for peace between Israelis and Palestinians, there is hope in the future. The Bible indicates that it is during a period of violent upheaval between the Palestinians and Israelis that peace is actually on the horizon.

Despite Israel’s bloody history and present situation, there is hope for the nation and its capital Jerusalem. Please request our free booklet Jerusalem in Prophecy to learn more about Jerusalem’s future, when peace will flow out from that city to the entire world.