On Friday, as Israel prepared for the Passover holiday, an estimated 30,000 Palestinians massed along the Gaza border. What was billed as a non-violent march was in fact a mass assault orchestrated by Hamas with the intent of breaching the border fence and infiltrating Israel.
Hamas, an Islamist terrorist organization that avowedly seeks the destruction of Israel, spent $10 million to finance the confrontation – resources that should have been devoted to building infrastructure and opportunity for the Palestinian people.
Friday’s events were the latest iteration of Hamas’s cynical use of Gazans as human shields for its aggression. As thousands of people gathered at the border, Hamas members instigated violence, throwing rocks and firebombs, and in one case, opening fire at Israeli soldiers. These actions were intended to create a distraction for terrorists to lay IEDs along the border fence and launch an assault to infiltrate Israel.
The fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip separates a sovereign state from a territory controlled by a terror organization. No country would permit a violent mass breach of its borders, and Israel acted with restraint to defend itself.
The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza has reported the Palestinian death toll at 18, while the official news agency of the Palestinian Authority has the number at 16. While the exact figure has yet to be determined, at least 10 of the casualties have been identified as known terror operatives, including five members of Hamas.
Rather than denounce Hamas’s tactics and its cynical use of the Palestinian people, the UN held an emergency session on the situation during the Passover holiday, knowing that Israel could not take part. The United States blocked a draft UN Security Council statement calling for an investigation of events, but many other nations and media outlets have joined the chorus of usual condemnations against Israel.
Buoyed by the “success” of Friday’s march, Hamas and other organizers are planning a series of larger mass border protests culminating with a major march in mid-May when Israel marks its 70th anniversary of independence. The authoritarian rulers of Gaza and organizers of this weekend’s violence, have publicly and repeatedly stated their objective: the destruction of Israel.
CJP stands with Israel as it acts to protect its sovereignty and the security of its citizens. We support the realization of two states for two peoples – a future in which both Israelis and Palestinians enjoy peace and prosperity. The goal of peace will remain a distant dream so long as the international community confuses terrorist violence with legitimate protest. The loss of innocent lives is always tragic and will only be prevented by distinguishing between those who advocate for the destruction of Israel and those whose goal is to see two peoples living side-by-side in peace.