Security forces prepare for Hamas mass march on Israel

Israeli forces are preparing for Hamas’ mass marches on Israel’s border, which could result in many civilian casualties. 

By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News

The IDF is preparing for the Hamas-led mass march on Israel’s southern border which they have called for next Friday.

Hamas has called for “all Palestinians” to take part in a mass protest, another “Friday of Rage,” to mark the 100th day since President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and pledged to relocate the US embassy to the city.

Hamas wants the protests to begin on March 30 and to last for several weeks, with thousands of Palestinians moving to tent cities to be built along Israel’s border.

Hamas also called for Palestinians to stage the protests in the Judea and Samaria area after Friday prayers.

Hamas stated such protests would continue until the US’ recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel “is undermined.”

Israel is preparing for a scenario in which tens of thousands of Gazans will march to Israel’s border fence with Gaza, possibly attempting to take it down and march into Israel.

“We want to frighten the Israelis with the images of massive crowds of people who peaceably gather and sit close to the border,” Hamas spokesman Ahmed Abu Retaima told Bloomberg this week. “We are working to bring out more than 100,000 people for the march.”

The Hamas march is “clearly an attempt to break through the fences, and they are ready to tolerate losses,” Ehud Yaari, an international fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told Bloomberg.

The IDF will attempt to minimize casualties by deploying non-lethal crowd dispersal ordinance, including drones that will drop tear gas canisters on the crowds.

Israel fears a situation in which dozens of Palestinians will cross the border and enter Israeli territory, a situation which could result in many civilian casualties.

Such violent protests on Israel’s border with Gaza have occurred on Fridays over the past months, with several bombs being placed and detonated against Israeli forces, using the cover of the demonstrations to do so.

Yousef Munayyer, an analyst at the Arab Center in Washington, said the border march will force Israel into an unpleasant choice.

“You’re essentially talking about the Israeli military lining up like a firing squad against a wall of Palestinians civilians walking toward the fence,” Munayyer told Bloomberg.

“I don’t think that’s the optics the Israelis want to have out there,” he remarked. However, it appears that Hamas is seeking exactly such a scenario, to exploit the death of its civilians at Israel’s expense and to generate more violence in the region.