Revealed: Gaza ‘collaborators’ making new lives inside Israel

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Revealed: Gaza ‘collaborators’ making new lives inside Israel

EXCLUSIVE: Former mayor of Sderot reveals that Palestinians who once lived in Gaza have now made their home in the Israeli border town

Jenni Frazer is a freelance journalist

A Palestinian charged with collaborating with Israel sits on his bunk in his cell at a prison in Gaza City.    (Photo credit: Mahmud Hams/AFP/Getty Images)
A Palestinian charged with collaborating with Israel sits on his bunk in his cell at a prison in Gaza City. (Photo credit: Mahmud Hams/AFP/Getty Images)

The former mayor of an Israeli town near the Gaza border has revealed that it is also home to the families of 17 Palestinian collaborators – and the locals are absolutely fine with it.

Speaking to Jewish News during a recent visit to Sderot, the Negev town that takes the brunt of rocket attacks from Gaza, the former mayor revealed that collaborators who once lived in Gaza have now made their home here.

The collaborators – Israel’s eyes and ears in the Strip – were later extracted, said former mayor Dr David Bouskila, and both Sderot residents and the ex-collaborators are more than comfortable with the situation.

“They use the same names as they had in Gaza,” he said. “They work in our factories. Their children go to the same schools as our children. They feel part of the community.” At least one family is Dr Bouskila’s neighbour, he added.

The startling revelation follows a month of rising violence, after a rocket fired from the strip flew 75 miles and hit a house near Tel Aviv, injuring seven family members. Israel retaliated with airstrikes, destroying terrorist buildings and infrastructure.

Menorah made of burnt out rockets in Sderot

It has long been known that Israeli agencies recruit Palestinians to report on – and disrupt – terror operations against Israel, but news that the families of 17 one-time Gazan collaborators now live and work in Sderot is nevertheless striking.

All those who worked with Israel were brought out of the Gaza Strip when it withdrew from the area in 2005, and the men and their families were sent to a number of Israeli towns, including Netivot, Ashkelon, and Ashdod.

Everyone in Sderot was aware of the situation, Dr Bouskila maintained. “These people were brought out of Gaza and initially the IDF rented housing for them, but today the government pays for them.”

Rockets fired from Gaza into Israel

He added: “They don’t have Israeli citizenship – their status is between citizenship and a local licence – but they have the same rights as we do, in welfare and education.”

Dr Bouskila said Sderot residents were “very comfortable” with the presence of the Gazans. “They helped Israel fight against terrorists in Gaza,” he said. He was unaware of any more recent arrivals from the Gaza Strip, but believed that many places in Israel were now new homes for the men who had — often at great risk — co-operated with Israel. “Now they feel safe,” he declared.

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