Apr. 2, 2018
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)
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)
IDF Exchanges Fire with Palestinian Terrorists in Gaza (Jerusalem Post)
The IDF Spokesperson’s Office on Saturday released images of the weapons found near the Gaza border fence after two terrorists tried to attack IDF positions.
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)
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. (Israel Hayom)