In a deliberate attempt to provoke a violent confrontation with Israel over the Passover holiday, the Islamic terrorist organization Hamas, which is in complete political and military control of Gaza, is trying to break through Israeli defenses with a violent march at the Israeli-Gaza border, The Times of Israel reported Friday.
Specifically, Hamas has announced plans to direct mobs of civilians — with Hamas elements embedded and behind, using them as human shields — to try to tear down Israel’s security fence along the border. They would then exploit any incidents at the fence, as Israeli soldiers try to maintain their positions.
The Israel Defense Forces estimated that 20,000 Palestinians were taking part in “March of Return” demonstrations along the Gaza border, focused at six main protest sites where rioters threw firebombs and stones at Israeli soldiers and burned tires. Seven Palestinians were killed and some 500 were wounded when Israel retaliated.
Jason Greenblatt, the United States envoy in charge of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, attacked Hamas on Friday over its actions. Greenblatt said that “Hamas is encouraging a hostile march on the Israel-Gaza border.” He noted further that the group “should focus on desperately needed improvements to the lives of Palestinians in Gaza instead of inciting violence against Israel that only increases hardship and undermines chances for peace.”
Omri Ceren, a managing director at The Israel Project, warned that Hamas is using civilian protests as cover for a massive military operation, risking widening instability and potential conflict.
“Hamas is trying to trigger a Passover War and the U.N. seems eager to help them,” Ceren said. “Hamas is preparing thousands of civilians to rush Israel’s border, tear down the defensive fence, and provide cover as Hamas fighters flood into Israel.”
While Israeli military officials have vowed to use as little force as possible to control any violent eruption, things could spiral out of control, Ceren said. “The Israelis will do everything possible to prevent escalation and avoid casualties, but this is the kind of thing that could go really bad really quickly,” he explained.
“Meanwhile the U.N. is supporting Hamas and setting up Israel to get blamed for anything that happens to Hamas’s human shields,” Ceren stated. “American lawmakers were already inclined to view the U.N. as biased and unhelpful when it comes to Israel and this can cement that view.”
The U.S. State Department said that it was monitoring the situation closely and emphasized that it considers Hamas a terrorist organization and is aware of its routine use of human shields during terror operations. “Our position on Hamas has not changed,” the official said. “It is a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization. Any use of human shields is absolutely unacceptable.”
[Photo: Essam Nashar / YouTube]