10,000 Arab rioters are burning tires and throwing stones at several points along the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel, as the IDF prepared for mass violence. Security in Judea and Samaria was tightened as well.
By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News
Some 10,000 Palestinian Arabs rioted along the Israel-Gaza border, burning tires and throwing stones, an IDF spokesman said. Violence was expected as Wednesday marks “Nakba Day” for the Arabs, the day of “catastrophe” when they lost to Israel in 1948.
Several attempts have been made to approach the border fence. The IDF is pushing back the rioters with crowd control means.
Several injuries have been reported among the rioters, as well as one fatality.
Fires have broken out in recent hours near Israeli communities around the Gaza Strip, apparently ignited by arson balloons launched by Gaza terrorists.
All businesses, government offices and schools were closed in the Gaza Strip to allow thousands to answer Hamas’s call to protest on the border with Israel.
Since March 30 of last year, when Hamas began it’s so-called “March of Return,” in which thousands gathered to hurl stones and riot, large violent gatherings have taken place on a weekly basis, typically on Friday, on Israel’s border.
Israel had hoped, given the fragile truce in place after the recent rocket barrage on the south and the Israel Air Force’s heavy retaliation, that Hamas would keep the demonstrators a few hundred meters away from the barrier.
Nevertheless, Israel sent hundreds of soldiers to guard the area, with hundreds more held in reserve at nearby bases.
Iron Dome batteries are also still in place in case of any missile attacks. In the most vulnerable communities, special forces have been stationed and tall concrete barriers erected in open areas for extra protection.
Rhetoric from the Palestinian side on Tuesday was fiery as thousands had attended a pre-Nakba Day rally in front of the offices of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Gaza. Speakers slammed U.S. President Donald Trump’s peace plan.
“The issues of Jerusalem and the refugees are not for sale or bargaining,” PLO official Ahmed Abu Holi said. “The Palestinian people will not sell their rights and principles in return for dollars, and will not compromise on the payments to the families of martyrs and prisoners. We will not surrender to blackmail.”
Israeli police have also prepared for any spillover of violence from Gaza into Judea and Samaria and especially Jerusalem. Hundreds of policemen and Border Police were stationed in the capital to buttress security in three areas in particular: crossings from Judea and Samaria, the villages of eastern Jerusalem, and the Old City.