Mar. 31, 2019
The one-year anniversary of the March of Return protests began with weather that had the consistency of soup. Dust clogged the air, and it threatened to rain. Nevertheless, the tens of thousands of Palestinian protesters came anyway, driving up to five points along the Gaza security fence to protest and riot.
Israel has become used to this over the last year. While both Israel and Hamas – the main organizer of the protests – have altered their tactics, Hamas’s overall strategy has remained the same: to keep the pressure up, looking to demonstrate its relevance after 12 years of failed rule in Gaza.
Hamas wants concessions. It wants attention. And it wants martyrs – but not too many. This is the horrid calculus behind the squaring off along the fence.
Israel’s strategy is also clear: to stop any protesters or rioters from crossing the border, and to prevent the protests from serving as a cover for laying IEDs or sniper fire, or worse.
So far, both Israel and Hamas have been successful in their respective strategies. While Hamas boasted last year that these marches would lead to the “return,” and that Palestinians would be celebrating the conquest of Jerusalem, obviously they know this is impossible.