Israelis are overreacting to incendiary kite attacks from Gaza, Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi said on Thursday.

“I’m not excited by the kite terrorism. It shows how pathetic our enemies are,” Hanegbi told Army Radio. “They found a weapon that doesn’t endanger human lives, and we’ll find a solution for it. We don’t need to get excited.”

Soon after, Hanegbi tweeted: “We cannot panic over the kites. Our security authorities are investing a targeted effort in finding solutions, and all of our hearts are with the brave residents of the South.”

“It takes time,” the minister added. “We found responses to airplane hijackings and suicide bombers and Kassam rockets and knife terror. We find and destroy the tunnels. We never got hysterical. Calm down.”

Since the fire kite phenomenon began in March, over 265 fires were recorded, burning hundreds of acres of forests and agricultural land.

Kibbutz Movement secretary- general Nir Meir told Ma’ariv that the remarks miss the point: “The fields in the Gaza envelope are a symbol of Zionism. Whoever burns the fields of the Negev are burning Zionism... Whoever doesn’t come and see the Negev turned black doesn’t understand the psychological significance.”

Meir called on cabinet ministers to visit the South, accusing them of being alienated from what is happening around the country.

Also on Thursday, Yesh Atid MK Haim Jelin asked the World Wildlife Fund to intervene in stopping Gazans from launching incendiary kites, which have killed local fauna.

In a letter to WWF president and CEO Carter Roberts, Jelin said that the arson attacks “have caused irreversible damage to the composition of the agriculture fields and open spaces, where many animals lose their habitat in the most ruthless way.”

“The phenomenon is spreading and becoming more frequent while we witness the deaths of species such as turtles, lizards, snakes and gerbils,” he added.

Jelin, the former head of the Eshkol Regional Council in the Gaza envelope, asked that the WWF “do everything in your power to prevent this from happening any further, to confront the leaders of Hamas so they stop their actions swiftly. It is important to remember that these creatures are just seeking to live in their habitat, they have never harmed anyone and have no connection to the conflict.”

The MK warned that “every day this issue goes unsolved and kite terrorism continues, the Hamas terror organization continues to destroy the ecosystem and takes the lives of thousands of animals in the region.”

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