Over 50,000 Gazans participated in Hamas-led riots along the Israeli-Gaza border on Monday. In the chaos of events, and in response to blatant violations of Israel’s sovereignty, Israel was forced to defend her border, resulting in the deaths of dozens of Palestinian rioters. The death toll rose to 60 overnight, of which 24 so far have been confirmed as members of known terrorist organizations.
It was the deadliest day since the start of the weeks-long Palestinian riots and coincided with the inauguration of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem.
During the riots, which took place on 13 different locations along the border, rioters hurled firebombs and stones at Israeli troops, set hundreds of tires ablaze, and tried to carry out bombing and shooting attacks under the cover of the riots. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) released videos and images showing rioters setting fire to the border fence, shooting at soldiers, and trying to breach the fence to infiltrate into Israeli territory.
Israel was bracing for a second day of violent riots as Palestinians commemorate “Nakba Day” to mark the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. Riots, however, dwindled down on Tuesday with only 4,000 participants gathering at the border. The IDF said it arrested several suspects who attempted to infiltrate into Israel as part of riots on Tuesday afternoon.
The full responsibility for the deaths that occurred lies solely with Hamas, the terrorist group which exercises complete control over the Gaza Strip. The high casualty rate on Monday was a direct result of Hamas inciting rioters to breach the border fence and attack Israeli soldiers. On Tuesday, an eight-month-old baby died from tear gas that her family said she inhaled on Monday. At an emergency meeting at the U.N. on Tuesday, U.S. ambassador Nikki Haley said the riots at the border had nothing to do with inauguration of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem: “Rather, the violence comes from those who reject the existence of the state of Israel in any location,” Haley said. “The location of the embassy has no bearing on the specific boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem, or the resolution of contested borders. (…) It does not undermine the prospects for peace in any way.”
Buses and trucks collected people from the streets to bring them to the border area, organized and paid for by Hamas. The terrorist group also promised financial rewards for rioters seriously injured ($500) or moderately injured ($200) in the riots, as well as paying the families of anyone killed a reward of $3,000.
Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, an IDF spokesman, said hundreds of protesters carried out “concerted, coordinated” attacks on the border fence” and caused “significant damage.” Conricus added that Hamas terrorists disguised as rioters planted explosives along the fence and tried to infiltrate into Israel. The IDF reported at least three instances of armed Hamas gunmen trying to carry out attacks.
Joshua S. Block, CEO and President of the Israel Project said: “Hamas is a cynical, murderous terror organization, bent on Israel’s complete annihilation at the expense of their own civilian population. Hamas leaders are inciting the population – which deserves clean water, adequate health care, plenty of electrical energy, and a bright future – against the IDF and gets them killed.” He added: “True peace is only possible if the Palestinian leadership cedes, once and for all, its incitement and support for terrorism.”
Hamas sees the riots as an opportunity to deflect from its crushing failures in Gaza and redirect anger within the coastal enclave towards the border with Israel. The terror group uses the riots as cover to pursue the total annihilation of the Jewish State.
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