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Israelis living near Gaza angry about ceasefire

An Israeli Merkava battle tank near the border with the Gaza Strip near the Kibbutz of Nahal Oz [JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images]
An Israeli Merkava battle tank near the Gaza Strip [JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images]

There were anger and dismay on the Israeli side of the Gaza fence on Monday after two days of rocket blasts and air-raid sirens that ended with a ceasefire reports Reuters.

The dawn deal restored general calm after a barrage of nearly 700 Hamas and Islamic Jihad rockets, the most serious outbreak of violence between Israel and Palestinian militants for months.

But the cessation was greeted with little enthusiasm in the Israeli cities, towns and villages where Israelis were fuming, as well as weary of having to run to shelters.

READ: Gaza sees cautious calm after two-day Israeli onslaught

"In a month, in two weeks, in a month and a half, it will all happen again – we achieved nothing. I think Israel needs to strike them very, very hard so that they learn their lesson," said Haim Cohen, 69, a retired electrician from the coastal city of Ashdod 15 miles (25 km) north of the Gaza Strip.

Hamas took control over Gaza in 2007, two years after Israel pulled its troops and settlers out of the small Palestinian coastal enclave. Since then, the two sides have waged three wars and engaged in repeated tit-for-tat barrages.

Some Israelis who live close to the Gaza fence believed their government agreed to a truce with Hamas because it did not want rockets raining down during the upcoming Independence Day holiday, or the Eurovision Song Contest finals that begin on May 14 in Tel Aviv, just 50 miles (80 km) up the coast from Gaza.

"Eurovision set the agenda and not us, the residents of the south," said Ofer Liberman, from Nir-am, a kibbutz – or agricultural village – near northern Gaza. He said he felt abandoned, adding: "I want the government to make Hamas too scared to launch rockets at us."

READ: Next confrontation with Gaza must be the last, says Lieberman

"I think that a ceasefire is a mistake. You don't do a ceasefire with a terrorist organisation. If this cycle isn't finished properly and if Gaza isn't cleansed of these terrorists then nothing will help," said Jack Mandel, 57.

In Ein Hashlosha, a kibbutz about a mile and a half from Gaza, Meirav Kohan, 46, said she was shocked and disappointed at the truce. She said:

This is a war of attrition and the government is not looking for a long-term solution to bring us peace. There's no policy. We're just pawns in a game.

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