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Egypt Warns Hamas and IDF Prepares Ahead of Saturday’s Planned Gaza Riots

Ahead of the planned riots at the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel, Egypt has warned Hamas to control the violence, as IDF troops have prepared to defend against attacks.

Hamas has called for riots on Saturday, March 30, to commemorate the first anniversary of the Great March of Return. The march has, in reality, been a series of violent riots held at Gaza’s border with Israel, orchestrated by the terrorist group Hamas, which exercises complete political and military control over the enclave.

The Jerusalem Post reported that Egyptian intelligence officials warned Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the two biggest terror factions in Gaza, to minimize the violence during the riots. They also conveyed a warning from Israel that the IDF will respond forcefully to any attempts to breach the border fence.

The Post also reported that IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi visited the troops on the border with Gaza to assess their readiness. A statement from the IDF said, “The Chief of Staff examined the preparedness in the Gaza Division area along the border fence and the main centers of disturbances in the area.” The statement also said that Kochavi sought the likely responses to various situations that could arise during the anticipated riots Saturday.

An IDF investigation last month found that during the 11 months since the march began, more than 1,200 rockets had been fired into Israel, often after the riots.

Although the United Nations Human Rights Council has issued a report accusing Israel of committing war crimes in its response to the violent riots, legal experts have argued that the council’s conclusions were flawed.

In a response to the council’s Commission of Inquiry (COI) looking into the IDF’s conduct over the past year, Geoffrey S. Corn, a Professor of Law at South Texas College of Law, and Peter Margulies, a professor at Roger Williams University School of Law, argued that the COI “failed to acknowledge the complexity of conducting military security operations within the context of a mix of law-enforcement and belligerent-type threats.”

Rather, they wrote, the COI concluded: “that almost all uses of force were unjustified.” Such a determination could be defended had “the IDF been confronting ‘peaceful’ civilians with no interest in engaging in violence.” But that was not the case.

“An abundance of evidence indicates that these events were anything but a peaceful civilian protest,” Corn and Margulies wrote, “most notably Hamas’s own acknowledgment of the objectives it sought to achieve by exploiting the civilians involved in the confrontations.”

An IDF soldier, from the group My Truth testified to the high standards the IDF maintains when confronting threats from Hamas operatives among civilians. Avihai Shorshan recalled that he had two friends who died in 2014 because they tried “to do their mission without harming civilians” during Operation Protective Edge.

[Photo: Israel Defense Forces / Flickr ]