News / Middle East

Tensions Return to Israel-Gaza Border

Palestinians carry the body of Islamic Jihad militant Saber Asalya during his funeral at Jabalya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip after Israeli aircraft killed two Palestinian militants, one of them Asalya, March 27, 2011
Palestinians carry the body of Islamic Jihad militant Saber Asalya during his funeral at Jabalya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip after Israeli aircraft killed two Palestinian militants, one of them Asalya, March 27, 2011

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Luis Ramirez

Israel's border with Gaza has been the scene of rising tensions. Palestinian militants have been firing rockets at Israel, some hitting within a few kilometers of Tel Aviv. Israel has responded with air strikes and shelling, further stoking anger among the Palestinians.

For Yafa Briga, it is impossible to live a normal life after a rocket from Gaza hit just a few meters from her apartment building.

"Now the rockets have come really close to us. There was such a boom, all the windows, the doors, as though it was inside the house. It is very frightening. I do not sleep well. It creates a lot of tension," said Briga.

Fragments of the rocket that hit near the Brigas' home were recovered. No one was killed this time. But for residents here, a period of relative calm has been shattered.

In the past few days, militants in Gaza have been firing rockets into Israel, and Israel has been retaliating with air strikes and shelling.

Israel says it wants peace, but will act if the Palestinians' attacks continue. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, "We are interested, of course, in calm and security, and we have no desire to escalate the situation. But we will not hesitate to use the might of the Israel Defense Forces against those who attack our citizens. We will not tolerate attacks against our civilians."

In this normally tranquil seaside city, people like Briga try to carry on. Schools, closed for days, sit empty.

Yafa's 17-year-old daughter, Tone, worries about the future. "It cannot continue this way. I, too, live in fear. I'm a student in the 12th grade and they've cancelled our studies also because of this, because of the entire situation. It gets worse from day to day. I do want the situation to improve and there should be peace with everyone living together, but I do not think this will happen ever."

Neither side appears anxious for another war, but the big question is which side will take the first step to prevent it.

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