The Israel Defense Forces’ Spokesperson’s Unit on Tuesday posted two videos on its official Facebook page in Arabic in an effort to dissuade the residents of the Gaza Strip from participating in a mass march on the Israel-Gaza border on Friday.
Hamas, the terrorist group that rules Gaza, has called for a series of “peaceful protests” beginning on March 30, when the Palestinians mark “Land Day.” Tens of thousands of Palestinians are expected to take part in the so-called “March of Return.” Hamas urged Palestinians in the West Bank to clash with Israeli security forces and settlers in solidarity.
Under the headline “Not a Return—Anarchy,” the IDF urged Gazans to open their eyes to the fact that Hamas is using the march to divert attention from the internal problems facing the residents of the coastal enclave.
“A protest march? Popular demonstrations? It’s a provocation,” IDF spokesman in Arabic Maj. Avichay Adraee says in one of the videos.
“Hamas is organizing a march and calling on the people of Gaza to head toward the border with Israel, to deflect their attention from the water, unemployment, filth, sewage, electricity. Would it not be better to take care of all these problems before calling on the people to risk their lives?” he asks.
“Don’t you understand that terrorist elements are using you in a cynical manner? These events and activities do not and will not help, and they are pointless,” continues Adraee. “Demand your rights from those who continue to oppress you rather than care about your problems, and who take what you deserve and your money for the purpose of digging useless tunnels. The choice is in your hands.”
Meanwhile, Israeli, Palestinian, Jordanian and Egyptian security officials have been secretly cooperating with the aim of preventing the Hamas-orchestrated march from becoming violent.
Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh said earlier in the week that his forces are coordinating with the military and “are ready for any scenario.”
Palestinian protests are expected to gain momentum ahead of Israel’s 70th Independence Day in April and are likely to be fueled further by the U.S. Embassy’s move to Jerusalem, slated for May.