Hamas-led violent riots continued for a third consecutive week, as Palestinians at the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel threw firebombs, attempted to breach the border fence, and burned Israeli flags, The New York Times reported Friday.
Gazans gathered at five points along the border with Israel. Israeli troops used live fire to keep rioters away from the border fence.
In the report, the Times described how Hamas uses human shields to protect terrorists, observing that while some rioters were “peaceful,” others located just a few feet away “prepared gasoline bombs to hurl at the Israeli side.”
A number of rioters ignored Israeli warnings and approached the border fence. Israeli soldiers responded to the attempted incursions with gunfire and tear gas.
As opposed to last week when Hamas told Gazans to gather thousands of tires to burn to obscure the vision of the Israeli soldiers, this week the riot’s theme was themed “Flag Friday.” During the week, printers throughout the enclave produced “thousands” of Israeli flags for burning. The symbolism casts doubt that the intention of the riots was to encourage coexistence with Israel.
A cleric, who gave a speech at one of the riot locations referenced a Koranic verse saying, “This day, Jews will be behind stones, and the stones will speak, saying, ‘Come Muslims, and kill this Jew who is behind me.’ ” The message of the cleric, the Times observed, was “homicidal.”
A rioter who spoke to the Times insisted that the riot was peaceful, but added, “If I had weapons, I would kill and abduct soldiers.”
The Times of Israel reported that the White House called on the Palestinians to keep the riots peaceful and to stay at least 500 meters (a little more than 500 yards) from the border fence with Israel. According to the Times, rioters were as close as 350 yards from the fence.
[Photo: Israel Foreign Min. / Twitter]