In a social media message Friday, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman urged Hamas to take into account the fact that “it is now after the holidays. I tell the heads of Hamas that they should take this into account” when deciding how to conduct themselves in their riots. “I thank IDF soldiers for their service,” he said, adding that “we passed through the chagim of Tishrei exactly as we planned, without major eruptions in the conflict while exacting a price from the rioters at the border fence.” With Israel now returning to its “routine,” Hamas should be concerned that the IDF will take a heavier hand against it than it has in recent weeks.
Tens of thousands of Arab rioters are expected at the Gaza border fence Friday, as Hamas and Islamic Jihad over the past several days embarked on a campaign to bring Gazans to the riots – to the extent that the IDF has beefed up security in the fence area.
Despite that, security officials told Hadashot News that they did not expect the situation to deteriorate to the point of war.
While there has been a clear uptick in the number of rioters at the Friday demonstrations at the Gaza border, as well as an increase in the number of terror-balloon and kite attacks, “there has not been a substantial change in the way Hamas is running the protests,” the officials said, noting that the increased IDF defenses being deployed at the border did not include extended deployment of Iron Dome rocket defense systems – meaning that the security establishment does not expect Hamas to begin mass firings of rockets at Israel.
With that, the IDF is ready for every challenge, and will not hesitate to respond when and where necessary. In a statement, the IDF said that it had expanded forces in the border area in order to prevent terror attacks and halt the infiltration of Hamas terrorists into Israel.
“The IDF is prepared for all scenarios, and we see Hamas as responsible for everything that happens in Gaza, as well as everything that emerges from Gaza,” the statement said.
Several hundred Arabs rioted at several points on the Gaza border fence Thursday night, throwing rocks and grenades at Israeli forces. Soldiers responded with antiriot measures. There were no injuries among Israeli forces. In addition, there were four fires in the border area resulting from terror balloons and kites flown into Israel by Gazan Arab terrorists. All four fires were quickly brought under control. IDF officials were quoted by Channel 20 as saying that Hamas was beginning to realize that its fire terror campaign had been a failure – because it had failed to cow Israel or force it to change its positions, and because, with the arrival of winter, the effectiveness of attacks using fire would be significantly reduced.