Hamas on Thursday again canceled the “traditional” Friday riots at the Gaza border – for the third time in a row. In a statement, Hamas said that the cancellation was not connected to any “understandings” with Israel over a reduction in violence in exchange for Israeli “gestures.” The reason, according to the Gaza terror group, is because of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s legal problems.
In a statement, Hamas said that “the decision to cancel the march of return on Friday is because of the threat posed by Binyamin Netanyahu, who is likely to strike out at Gaza in order to protect himself because of his legal difficulties. This issue is beyond our national responsibility, and we thus choose to protect our people from the violence of Netanyahu.”
The weekly riots on the Gaza border began in March of 2018, and were a weekly event, drawing thousands of Arabs (many of whom were bused in) to the border fence, where they would throw stones and bricks at Israeli soldiers, and attempt to breach the border fence. Arab media reports said that Hamas was reconsidering the use of the riots as a political tool, and was considering limiting them to once a month in order to increase their effectiveness.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority slammed the announcement Wednesday by Defense Minister Naftali Bennett that Israel would not return bodies of terrorists until all Israelis, living or dead, were released by Hamas and the PA. “The comments by Bennett show that Israel is a terror state,” said PA Minister for Prisoner Affairs, Khadri Abu-Bakr. “The world must take a stand against the Israeli entity, which proves time after time that it acts in a terrorist manner against Palestine, its people and its land, while trying to hide the evidence of its crimes.”
The family of IDF soldier Hadar Goldin, Hy”d, whose remains Hamas is holding in Gaza, praised the announcement by Bennett, saying that “we cannot have a situation in which we release the bodies of terrorists while Hamas holds our soldiers in Gaza. Release of terrorists’ bodies is a reward for Hamas and we cannot give them this reward.” In its statement, the family said that it also expected the government to halt economic projects with the PA until the Israelis were released.