While we were enjoying our Seder with our families, thousands of IDF soldiers had to spend the festival warding off an attempt to invade our Gaza border by Hamas terrorists using civilians as human shields. The terrorists had the chutzpah to call this declaration of war a “peaceful protest”, a “March of Return”.
This PR stunt was wildly successful by Hamas’s contemptuous standards. Some 30,000 Gazans swarmed Israel’s border and in the ensuing clashes 16 of them were killed:
At least 16 Palestinians were killed and hundreds more were wounded by IDF gunfire along the Israel-Gaza border, Palestinian sources said Friday, as thousands swarmed the security fence as part of “The Great March of Return,” called for by enclave’s militant Hamas rulers.
That great pal of Hamas, Mahmoud Abbas, whose Prime Minister the very same Hamas terrorists had tired to assassinate just last month, suddenly saw an opportunity – not to make peace with Israel Heaven forfend – but to blacken Israel’s name by siding with Hamas:
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared Saturday would be a national day of mourning. “Israel is fully responsible for all of the aggression in Gaza today, and fully responsible for the death of Palestinians,” Abbas said.
He ordered the Palestinian envoy to the UN, Riyad al-Maliki, to take all immediate steps to demand international protection for the Palestinian people.
The Palestinian Health Ministry said more than 1,400 were hurt in the clashes. The ministry clarified those injured included protesters hit by live bullets and rubber-coated steel pellets, while others were overcome by tear gas.
Palestinian health officials said 758 of the protesters were wounded by live gunfire, while others were struck by rubber bullets or treated for tear gas inhalation. Witnesses said the military had used a drone in at least one location to drop tear gas.
Those sound like very reasonable numbers of casualties considering the size and violence of the attempted invasion.
As for the cost..
Organizers invested a lot of resource in free bus services to transport Gazans to the border, the construction of the tent encampments, and an aggressive public campaign among other things, with little results.
It must have cost a fortune to organize all of this. Just imagine how many houses, schools, hospitals etc. could have been built with this ill-gotten aid money from well-mean but ill-intentioned-towards-Israel NGOs.
Before anyone weeps bitter tears at the sad Palestinian losses, please note that at least 10 of the 16 causalities were members of terror groups:
The Israeli military on Saturday night identified 10 of the 16 people reported killed during violent protests along the Gaza security fence as members of Palestinian terrorist groups, and published a list of their names and positions in the organizations.
According to the Israel Defense Forces (Arabic link), eight of the men killed were members of Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip. One served in the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, and another was affiliated with “global jihad,” it said, apparently referring to one of the Salafist groups in Gaza.
Earlier on Saturday, Hamas publicly acknowledged that five members of its military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, were among the fatalities.
The real innocents in this charade are the children used as human shields by the terrorists. The child abuse built in to this violent society never fails to surprise me. Just see this little item!
An IDF force caught a seven-year-old Palestinian girl attempting to cross the border fence, and returned her back to her parents in Gaza.
The IDF said that the girl was encouraged to attempt to cross by Hamas, which “endangers women and children and uses them cynically.”
Will there be an international outcry against Hamas? Not holding my breath.
The IDF had prepared in advance for the violence, as the Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkott explained before Pesach:
The “March of Return” is set to begin on Friday with “Land Day,” which marks the Israeli government’s expropriation of Arab-owned land in the Galilee on March 30, 1976, and the ensuing demonstrations in which six Arab Israelis were killed. It is also, by coincidence, the eve of the week-long Passover holiday.
The protests will continue until May 15, the day after the anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel, which Palestinians refer to as the Nakba, or catastrophe.
“A big portion of the army will be invested there,” Eisenkot told the Yedioth Ahronoth daily, adding that over a hundred snipers, most from “special units,” have been stationed in the area.
“If there will be a danger to lives, we will authorize live fire,” he declared. “The orders are to use a lot of force.”
Hamas executed a clever PR stunt because the world is getting fed up of the Palestinians’ whining, corruption, lack of helping themselves, and ISIS and Iran are proving to be much bigger problems. Even the Arab world has stopped making everything contingent on a “peace process” between Israel and the Palestinians. So the Palestinians, like spoilt children, need to get attention again. What better way than to provoke a battle where their “civilians” are bound to get killed, in front of the world media’s cameras of course. If they “succeed” in getting the deaths, then Israel is portrayed as a cruel aggressor. If the IDF manage to save their lives, then Israel is portrayed as a weakling that couldn’t face up to a mere army of civilians. Either way a win-win situation for them. That is the only explanation for Hamas sending in women and even a 7 year old girl to try and cross the border. They were cruelly hoping they’d get killed by the IDF.
The next problem for Israel is the fact that Hamas are so obviously delighted at the success of their “stunt”, and it may presage more violence:
By the end of Friday’s border battles, Hamas could chalk up a victory: Tens of thousands of Gazans had joined its “March of Return,” making it one of the largest Palestinian public protests in the past decade, in Gaza or the West Bank.
Hamas had hoped that hundreds of thousands, even a million, might turn out. But as a colleague in Gaza said Friday night, “The real expectation had been that numbers would be far lower. And now everyone knows that the numbers will grow for Nakba Day” — on May 15, when Palestinians mark the “catastrophe” that befell them with Israel’s creation — for the anticipated culmination of this anti-Israel campaign.
The Hamas leadership, whose members made themselves prominent at several key locations on Friday, was plainly euphoric. Photo-ops like this don’t come everyday. From Ismail Haniyeh on down, they toured the hotspots, and none to greater effect than Yahya Sinwar — the undisputed Hamas leader in Gaza.
Hamas even managed to restore the Palestinian issue to the international agenda, which had for a long time become indifferent to what unfolds in Gaza and the West Bank.
The cost was 16 killed and hundreds injured, according to the Hamas-controlled health ministry. Those numbers are sure to rise over the coming weeks in the run-up to May 15. So, too, however, are the numbers participating in the protests.
Despite the violence at the fence, and at least one case of gunfire directed at Israeli troops, these Gazans said, Hamas security forces made an effort to prevent gunmen from getting to the border on Friday. [And if you believe that I have a bridge to sell you. -ed.] It is by no means certain that such efforts will be maintained in a month and a half’s time. The May 15 campaign, in other words, is likely to be both much bigger and much more violent.
The “success” of Friday’s demonstrations is also likely to spread to other areas — most notably to the West Bank in the run-up to Nakba Day. With the Americans set to open their embassy in Jerusalem, and Gazans holding a still bigger “March of Return,” there will be considerable motivation for protests in the West Bank.
The other bonus hoped for by the Palestinians was of course the diplomatic benefit – the automatic condemnation of Israel by the UN and foreign governments.
The Foreign Ministry, which issued a statement Thursday stressing that Israel has the right to defend its borders and that Palestinian terror groups should be held responsible for any violence at the Gaza border, on Saturday night sent out a press release reiterating the same talking points.
“The border fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip separates a sovereign state and a terrorist organization. It separates a state that protects its citizens from murderers who send their countrymen into danger,” the statement read.
“The fence separates an army that uses force in self-defense and in a focused and proportionate manner, and Hamas, an organization that sanctifies murder and death, that for years — yesterday included — has been intent on harming millions of Israelis. Anyone who mistakenly views in this murderous spectacle even an iota of freedom of expression is blind to the threats the State of Israel faces.”
These pillars of moral integrity (just joking) remarked:
Emphatic though Israeli officials may sound, many of their arguments fall on deaf ears in at least parts of the international community, which over the weekend either condemned Israel or called on both sides to exercise restraint.
The United Nations and the European Union demanded independent investigations, the Security Council convened a special emergency session, and Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan declared that “Israel will get trapped under the oppression it inflicts in Palestine.”
“The EU mourns the loss of life. Our thoughts are with the families of the victims,” the union’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, said Saturday in a statement. Israel’s use live ammunition should be subjected to an “independent and transparent investigation,” she said, echoing earlier comments made by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
I don’t think I’ve heard such sincere sorrow for Israeli victims of Palestinian terror.
“While Jews around the world gathered with their family at the Seder table to celebrate the Passover holiday, the Palestinians sunk to a new deceitful low so that they could use the UN to spread lies about Israel,” protested Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon. “This shameful exploitation of our holiday will not succeed in stopping us from speaking the truth about the Hamas terror-gatherings that aim to destabilize the region.”
It is therefore extremely gratifying to note that both Britain and the US scuppered the passage of an anti-Israel resolution at the UN:
The Palestinians on Saturday expressed outrage and disappointment over the UN Security Council’s failure to issue a resolution condemning Israel for the deaths and injuries during Friday’s mass protests along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel.
The Palestinian Authority blamed the US and Britain for obstructing the Palestinian and Arab effort to persuade the Security Council to issue a resolution blasting Israel for the 16 Palestinian fatalities.
That ever-hyperactive Security Council, which immediately springs into action whenever Israel is involved but sees no reason to rush when Assad butchers hundreds of thousands of his own citizens by barrel bombing and chemical warfare, or when Russia poisons ex-agents in London, refused to even consider deferring the debate in honour of Passover. Imagine if such a debate were held during Ramadan!
The Security Council held a closed meeting on Friday night to discuss the clashes along the Gaza-Israel border, despite a request from the US and Israel to postpone deliberations for Saturday due to Passover holiday eve.
In summary here is the IDF Spokesman talking about yesterday’s violence:
And one last item: Read David Horovitz’s item “Just in case anyone forgot what Hamas’s Right of Return March is really about”.
But Hamas, of course, is not interested in Palestinian independence. Again, it strives for the elimination of Israel.
So, finally, just in case anybody forgets the context for Friday’s latest escalation of violence, they need only listen to Hamas’s Gaza chief Yahya Sinwar setting out the ultimate goal. As he put it in an address to Gazans at the border on Friday, “The March of Return will continue… until we remove this transient border.” The protests “mark the beginning of a new phase in the Palestinian national struggle on the road to liberation and ‘return’… Our people can’t give up one inch of the land of Palestine.”
Let nobody be fooled by their innocent words. Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the PLO, Fatah, all the rest of that ugly bunch: they have only one aim, one target: the utter destruction of Israel and as many Jews along the way as possible, no matter how many of their own civilians it takes to do it.