by: Ilse Strauss
Tuesday, 15 May 2018 | Yesterday morning nearly 50,000 Gazans gathered along the border with Israel. They came armed with guns, knives, explosive devices, Molotov cocktails, rocks and every other weapon they could lay their hands on. They came because Yahya Sinwar, the leader of Hamas in Gaza, rallied his people to storm the border fence, break down the barrier, swarm into Israel and massacre whoever they could find. Gaining access to Israel would not be too difficult, he promised, as the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) were allegedly fleeing before the advancing Gazans.
There can be no doubt as to the rioters’ intent. Organizers sent instructions directing protesters to “act in accordance with the demand to bring a knife or a gun, to hide them under your clothes and not use them except where there is a need to capture… residents of Israel.” An enthusiastic Gazan told the Washington Post, “We are excited to storm and get inside. Whatever is possible, to kill, throw stones.”
The stage was set.
At approximately 11:30 a.m. hundreds of violent rioters ran for the border, trying to tear down the fence. Israel responded in exactly the same way as any other country would have responded if a violent horde bent on massacring its citizens stormed its sovereign border: it stopped them.
Nearly 60 Palestinians died for Hamas’s obsession of destroying Israel. None of the rioters reached Israeli territory.
The day also saw mass tire burnings, launching burning objects such as kites with charcoal or containers with burning fuel across the border in an attempt to torch Israeli fields. Following attempts to plant an explosive device on the border fence and gunfire aimed at soldiers, IDF jets and tanks targeted a Hamas training camp.
In the aftermath of the day of violence—the worst since Operation Protective Edge in 2014—the international community heaped condemnation on Israel for the death toll. Several news outlets blame Israel outright, telling its readers and listeners that the protests were non-violent, painting pictures of a peaceful sit-in, with Israel reacting with disproportionate violence.
The reality is, however, wholly different. Israel’s position is straightforward: the Hamas terrorist organization sent violent rioters to breach Israel’s border and enter Israeli communities. Hamas planned a massacre. The attack was perpetrated by the terror organization. Israel acted in self-defense.
Yesterday’s violence comes as the month-and-a-half long “March of Return” is set to culminate in Nakba Day (Day of Catastrophe—Arabs remember the day when Israel declared Independence) today. For six weeks, the Israel-Gaza border has been fraught with tension, violent clashes, Palestinian destruction of property and several attempts to breach the border.
Hours before yesterday’s violence, the IDF asked Gazans to steer clear of the fray to avoid getting hurt. Yesterday the IDF dropped leaflets in the Gaza Strip, warning residents to keep away from the border fence. One of the leaflets read in Arabic, “To the protesters, you are taking part in violent protests that are putting your life in danger. Hamas is using you to conceal its failures and is endangering you and your family members. The IDF is prepared for any scenario and will act against any attempt to target the security fence or to threaten the forces or Israel’s citizens. Hamas is using you. Don’t be its puppets. Stay away from the fence and beware terror operators and violent rioters! Take care of yourselves and work to build your future!”
Israel’s warnings were not heeded.
At first glance it would appear that Hamas’s mission failed. None of the rioters sent to infiltrate Israel managed to breach the border, while nearly 60 were killed. Yet infiltration was arguably not the terror organization’s main goal. Hamas’s agenda, it seems, was to stage a publicity production aimed at garnering international sympathy for unarmed, hapless Palestinians taking a peaceful stand against the Goliath-like IDF.
To a large extent, the international media fell for the ploy, dutifully reporting on Hamas’s staged plight to a world audience concerned with social justice. Hamas, the terror organization that rallied 50,000 supporters to storm the border with Israel to kill and kidnap civilians, stands as the suffering party in yesterday’s violence, while the IDF, which acted in self-defense to prevent a massacre, appears to be the overpowering aggressor.
Hamas failed miserably at breaching the border fence. Their attempt at damaging Israel’s reputation was unfortunately infinitely more successful.
Israel does not rejoice over the loss of life. The people of the Promised Land do not stand indifferent to the suffering of the Palestinians. On the contrary. They mourn with a people who are exploited by a government whose obsession to destroy Israel at any cost eclipses their sense of responsibility for the well-being of those they rule.
Posted on May 15, 2018
Source: Bridges for Peace, 15 May 2018
Photo Credit: IDF Spokesman
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