Hamas Disappointed by Low Turnout for Gaza Border Protest
- Daniel Siryoti (Israel Hayom
Senior Hamas members are reportedly disappointed with the comparatively low number of 30,000 who participated in this weekend's protests in Gaza.
"There is some disappointment at the low turnout...we expected at least three times as many participants," a Hamas official told Israel Hayom.
Gaza's rulers were also said to be disappointed by the fact that a day after Friday's march, only a few hundred remained at the meeting points.
IDF Official Says Israel Will Not Return Bodies of Gaza Terrorists
- Tal Lev Ram (Maariv-Jerusalem Post
Israel will not return the bodies of terrorists killed by the IDF while carrying out terror attacks on the Israel-Gaza border, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Maj.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai, posted on the IDF's Arabic Facebook page on Sunday.
"Israel will not rest and Gaza will know no peace until Israelis return from the Strip and our soldiers are brought to burial in Israel," referring to two Israeli civilians and the bodies of 2 IDF soldiers held by Hamas since the 2014 Gaza war.
"Israel must use the bodies as a bargaining chip against Hamas and hold them until a solution is found and the soldiers are returned," said Prof. Simcha Goldin, the father of Lt. Hadar Goldin, who died in 2014 and whose remains are being held by Hamas.
A Demonstration of Power and Restraint
- Amnon Lord (Israel Hayom
The IDF worked effectively and smashed the wave of rioting that Hamas directed toward Israel's communities adjacent to Gaza.
The Palestinians are trying to bring their struggle to the international arena, particularly the UN, which serves as their foreign ministry.
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
- Palestinians Confront Israel Defense Forces on Gaza Border - Isabel Kershner and Iyad Abuheweila
As many as 30,000 Palestinians arrived Friday at tent encampments on Gaza's side of the border with Israel to stage what was billed as the start of a peaceful, six-week sit-in. But as some began hurling stones, tossing Molotov cocktails and rolling burning tires at the fence, the Israelis responded with tear gas and gunfire. (New York Times)
See also Israel Says It Will Expand Response If Gaza Clashes Go On, Brands Those Killed as Terrorists - Noga Tanopolsky
A day after clashes with Israeli soldiers at the Israel-Gaza border left 16 Palestinians dead, IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Ronen Manelis said Saturday that the protest - billed as nonviolent - was "not a nonviolent protest. It was an organized, Hamas act of terror using civilians as a cover."
"I don't know why people call this a protest. It's terror," Manelis said. "Hundreds of terrorists used the demonstration as cover to perpetrate violent acts....If this continues, we will have no choice but to respond inside Gaza against terrorist targets." Israel said all of those killed were engaged in violence against its soldiers and released videos showing Palestinian snipers shooting at soldiers.
Manelis said that Israel had identified at least four explosives left alongside the border fence by "terrorists using the demonstration as camouflage." He said the military acted with restraint and knew "exactly" who its sharpshooters targeted.
(Los Angeles Times)
See also Israel Says Claims of Hundreds Wounded by Live Fire Are "Nonsense" - Isabel Kershner
IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Ronen Manelis described as "nonsense" claims by Gaza health officials that 800 Palestinians were injured by live fire, saying the number of live fire injuries was more likely in the dozens, with the rest hit by rubber bullets or tear gas. (New York Times)
- Israel Says It Only Shot at Protesters Charging Gaza Border
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Sunday that those Palestinians who protested peacefully were not harmed, and he rejected accusations of excessive use of force on Friday.
Lieberman said troops acted appropriately by only firing on protesters who charged toward Gaza's border with Israel.
Israel says thousands of Palestinians approached the border, with hundreds engaged in acts of violence. Israel has identified and named 10 of the dead as militants from Hamas and other groups.
(AP-New York Times)
- U.S. Blocks UN Security Council Statement on Gaza Violence
The U.S. on Saturday blocked a draft UN Security Council statement calling for an investigation of clashes on the Gaza-Israel border, diplomats said.
See also PA Blames U.S., UK after Failed Bid to Condemn Israel at UN - Khaled Abu Toameh (Times of Israel)
See also Israel to UN: Palestinian "Peace March" Turned Violent
Israel's Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon released a statement on Friday ahead of the Security Council meeting on Gaza.
"As we warned, the so-called peace march today turned out to be a well-organized and violent terror-gathering funded by Hamas. The sole purpose of these provocations is to threaten Israel and sow unrest. Today we saw yet another example of Hamas exploiting civilians as they sent children to the fence with Israel, intentionally endangering their lives. The international community must not be deceived by Hamas' attempts to conceal their crimes." (Jerusalem Post)
See also UN Convenes to Discuss Gaza Border Clashes without Israeli Envoy - Noa Landau
The UN Security Council convened Friday night to discuss the events on the Gaza border, despite the U.S. and Israel's request to postpone deliberations due to the Passover holiday. No Israeli envoy was present during discussions.
In a statement Saturday, Israel's ambassador to the UN Danny Danon called the move "underhanded opportunism" by the Palestinians, aimed to spread lies on the UN stage "while Jewish people across the world gather to celebrate Passover." (Ha'aretz)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
- Israel: Events on Gaza Border Are Not about Freedom of Expression
The border fence between Israel and Gaza separates a sovereign state and a terrorist organization. It separates a state that protects its citizens from murderers who send their countrymen into danger.
The fence separates an army that uses force in self-defense and in a focused and proportionate manner, and Hamas, an organization that sanctifies murder and death, that for years has been intent on harming millions of Israelis. Anyone who mistakenly views in this murderous spectacle even an iota of freedom of expression is blind to the threats the State of Israel faces.
(Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
- Israel's Defense Minister: 90 Percent of Palestinian Protesters Were Paid Hamas Activists and Their Families
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman warned Sunday that Israel would act with a far stronger hand if Palestinians in Gaza resumed violent protests on the border with Israel. He claimed that 90% of the Palestinian protesters were officials and activists paid by Hamas, together with their families. Lieberman also pledged that there would be no international inquiry into the clashes.
The defense minister praised the army for having "carried out its work in the best possible way" and that "no soldiers were hurt." He said
the army "can respond much more harshly next time" and that it would not "hesitate to use everything we have," though he expressed doubt that the Palestinians would seek to replicate Friday's events "in light of the results." "Any state whose borders people tried to crash would act in an even more severe way than we did," he added.
(Times of Israel)
- Netanyahu Answers Turkey's Erdogan over Gaza: "Don't Lecture Us on Morality" - Noa Landau
Turkish President Erdogan on Sunday said, "Israel has carried out a massacre in Gaza and Netanyahu is a terrorist." In response, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said, "Anyone who occupies Northern Cyprus, invades the Kurds, and massacres civilians in Afrin shouldn't lecture us on morality and values."
Earlier on Sunday he said, "The most moral army in the world will not be lectured to by someone who for years has been bombing civilian populations indiscriminately." (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
- Hamas' Tactics Use Civilians as a Human Shield - Oded Granot
Meticulous planning went into organizing the March of Return along the Gaza border fence. About 250 buses brought 30,000 people to the border area. Some are relatives of Hamas operatives and public officials. Not everyone participated willingly. Some were forced.
This was no peaceful, popular demonstration, as the organizers promised it would be. Attempts were made to vandalize the border fence, and the demonstrators were used as cover for an attempted attack against IDF forces. In this sense, Hamas' tactics didn't differ much from the 2014 Gaza war, in which it located terrorist headquarters and weapons caches in civilian homes and civilians were forced to serve as human shields.
- What Hamas' "March of Return" Is Really All About - David Horovitz
Organizing and encouraging mass demonstrations at the border to face off against Israeli troops, while branding the campaign non-violent, is merely the latest iteration of Hamas' use of Gazans as human shields for its aggression.
Demanding a "right of return" to Israel for tens of thousands of Palestinian refugees and their millions of descendants is nothing less than a call for the destruction of Israel by demographic means. No Israeli government could accept this demand, since it would spell the end of Israel as a Jewish state.
Hamas' Gaza chief Yahya Sinwar set out the ultimate goal, telling Gazans at the border on Friday, "The March of Return will continue...until we remove this transient border." The protests "mark the beginning of a new phase in the Palestinian national struggle on the road to liberation and 'return.'...Our people can't give up one inch of the land of Palestine." (Times of Israel)
- More than 20 million pounds of British aid money has been spent on Palestinian schools in the past year, despite ministers knowing the official curriculum could incite pupils to become martyrs and jihadists.
- In a series of parliamentary answers, the aid minister, Alistair Burt, has admitted that British taxpayers are funding the salaries of 33,000 teachers implementing a school curriculum that has been criticized for promoting violence against Israel.
- A report by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (Impact-SE) on the revised 2017 PA curriculum for schools in the West Bank said it "exerts pressure over young Palestinians to acts of violence."
- The lessons being taught by British-funded teachers include a science textbook that teaches physics using an image of a boy firing a slingshot at soldiers. A math textbook asks students to calculate the number of martyrs in Palestinian uprisings.
- The report concludes that "radicalization is more pervasive across this new curriculum" than the one that it has replaced, and that "the curriculum's focus appears to have expanded from demonization of Israel to providing a rationale for war." One poem taught to nine-year-olds calls for "sacrificing blood," "eliminating the usurper," and "annihilat[ing] the remnants of the foreigners."
- By contrast, references to peace agreements between the Palestinians and Israel have been removed.