Some 30,000 Palestinians have gathered on the border as part of the “March of Return” supported by Hamas. There have been several attempts to breach the security barrier with Israel, as well as individual acts of terrorism. The IDF has mostly responded with non-lethal means, but has used live fire against direct acts of violence.
Sixteen Palestinians have been killed since the demonstrations began on Friday, ten of whom were later identified as members of terrorist organizations.
The Hebrew news site Walla quotes an anonymous IDF source saying the violence could easily get worse: “Hamas could decide to raise the price for the IDF through a direct attack on soldiers with sniping or from within the demonstrations.”
Should this occur, “Hamas is risking a ferocious response. It could definitely happen.”
Another source, described as a senior security official, agreed, stating that Hamas “will try to escalate, to be more violent, and we are prepared for any eventuality.”
The source said that Hamas has scored some public relations victories due to the riots, saying, “As far as [Hamas] is concerned, it has managed to gain worldwide attention, including a meeting of the UN Security Council.”
The Security Council proposed a condemnation and investigation of Israeli actions against the rioters. The proposal was blocked by the United States.
(C) 2018 . The Algemeiner . Benjamin Kerstein