A Palestinian protester hurls stones toward Israeli soldiers during a protest near the Gaza Strip border with Israel, in eastern Gaza City, Saturday, March 31, 2018. (AP Photo/ Khalil Hamra)
Last Friday, as Israel prepared to celebrate Passover, Hamas had a different idea. It was preparing for what it was billing as the “March of Return.” The idea was to mass Palestinians along the fenceline separating Israel from Gaza and then force their way into Israel, demanding the right to return to areas their ancestors allegedly fled after 1948.
#GreatReturnMarch A Palestinian refugee delivers his speech in English calling all the free people of the world to support Gazans on their big day. pic.twitter.com/ojrIl27Sdp
— 16th October Group (@16thOctoberGr) March 30, 2018
Watch Great March of Return: A video summary of yesterday's mass protests in besieged Gaza Strip. Video by Mohammed Asad. pic.twitter.com/1aH2gdO0tz
— Palestine Info Center (@palinfoen) March 31, 2018
Thousands of Palestinians participating in the Great March of Return near the eastern borders of Gaza, Israeli occupation forces aggressively attacked protesters by live bullets which caused to the martyrdom of 7 Palestinians and the injured of more than 1,100
— Aya Isleem 🇵🇸 #Gaza (@AyaIsleemEn) March 30, 2018
The real objective was two-fold. First, to create a photo-op and agitprop event, complete with actual casualties, to be used for a propaganda campaign that is not going all that well for Hamas. Second, to push into Israel some hardened terrorists trained by Hamas.
In the event, Israeli restraint dispersed this illegal invasion with about 15 fatalities. And the terrorists didn’t fare all that well:
10 Terrorists Killed When Hamas Used 'Great March of Return' to Cover for Terror at Gaza Border – https://t.co/4TgofBwQ5u @JewishPress pic.twitter.com/MELhtY6S46
— JewishPress.com (@JewishPress) March 31, 2018
The agitprop campaign, naturally, ended up in the UN over the weekend. Late Friday, Kuwait called an emergency meeting to discuss the event. You didn’t, as the poet said, need a weatherman to know which way this foul wind was blowing. There were the ritual condemnations of Israel. And the U. S. ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, blocked the resolution.
On the whole, the event turned out to be a bust for Hamas, which is increasingly an Iranian proxy in the mode of Lebanese Hezbollah. But we should be prepared for more such events. There is a de facto rift between the lazy, corrupt, and inept Palestinian Authority which rules the West Bank and the energetic, inept, corrupt and brutal Hamas which rules Gaza. The leaders of the Arab world are getting tired of this ginned up violence when they know the actual threat to them is not Israel but Iran and at a time when Israel is more of a partner in rolling back Iranian expansion than the ultimate enemy. Pressure is going to increase on Hamas to ratchet up violence, and casualties, because the moment people realize that the Jews aren’t the enemy, there are going to be heads on pikes in Gaza.