Barely a week after the cessation of the latest round of hostilities between Israel and Gaza terror groups, the IDF is once again on high alert, as Hamas again organizes its weekly “march to home” border riot. The riots are expected to be especially large Friday, which is the first Friday of Ramadan, traditionally a time of increased incitement.
Hamas sent out flyers to Gazans Thursday calling on them to gather at the border, stressing that the riot would be a response to the 71st anniversary of the “Nakba,” the term used by Palestinian Authority terror groups to describe the establishment of Israel. “We must give a message to Israel and the international community that we will not forgive the Nakba, nor will we forget,” the terror group said. The Hamas flyer added that the riots were also a lead-in to the upcoming Nakba Day – May 15, the secular date marking the establishment of Israel.
Complicating matters was a report Friday that an Egyptian delegation would be present at the border on the Gaza side to observe the situation. Reports earlier this week said that Israel had committed to allow the riots to go on without interference by the IDF as long as the welfare of Israeli soldiers was not in danger.
It’s not clear if the dangers to soldiers that would warrant Israeli shooting at rioters were spelled out in the understandings reached earlier this week in Cairo, when Israel and Hamas effectively worked out a cease-fire brokered by Egypt.
As part of those understandings, Israel reportedly agreed to reopen Gaza border crossings and allow more goods into Gaza, as well as to expand the area where Gaza fisherman can trawl. The latter commitment was fulfilled by Israel Thursday night, when Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu reportedly ordered that the fishing area be expanded to 12 nautical miles. In the wake of last weekend’s tension, the fishing area was cut to 6 miles.
Last weekend, Gaza terrorists fired some 700 rockets at Israel. 240 of them were shot down by Iron Dome defense missiles, with the majority of the others falling in open areas. The IDF hit over 350 “high quality” targets in Gaza, the army said. Four Israelis were killed: Reb Pinchas Menachem Pshevesman, Hy”d, of Ashdod; Moshe Feder, Hy”d, whose vehicle was hit by a rocket; Moshe Agadi, Hy”d, who was killed outside his house in Ashkelon; and a Bedouin community member, Zayad Alhamada, who was killed when a Hamas rocket hit an Ashkelon factory.