On March 30, 2019, Hamas, the terror organization proscribed by the EU (2001), the US (1997), Canada (2002) and Israel (1989) that has ruled the Gaza Strip ever since taking it over in a coup in 2007 will mark one year since their so called “March of Return”. For the last year, each Friday saw organized attempts to breach the Gaza security barrier and to infiltrate nearby Israeli towns. Of course, Hamas and their supporters did not market these events in this way. They disguised these as “grassroots popular events” and “peaceful protests”.
On March 30, Hamas will come out in full force, bringing citizens to the border. Often, not voluntarily. They will have children lighting tires on fire, women throwing stones, and at the same time members of terror organizations will try to breach the fence with cutters. The IDF will not allow any threat to breach into Israel endangering its citizens. They will act. People will get hurt and people will unfortunately die. Often this includes the people that Hamas cynically puts in harm’s way.
These events are nothing but a well-planned attempt to get the IDF to harm Palestinian lives and if possible, innocent people including children. Why would they do this to their own people? Let’s take a quick look at their history.
1 What is Hamas?
Hamas is a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood and is a Sunni-Islamic terror organization established in 1987 by Sheik Ahmad Yassin during the outbreak of the first “Intifada”. Hamas was established with the express goal to destroy the State of Israel and replace it with an Islamic caliphate ruled by Sharia law.
Over the next 2 decades, Hamas claimed responsibility for hundreds of terror attacks including stabbings, shootings, suicide bombings at cafés, buses, crowded markets, events and other gatherings. Thousands of Israelis including women, children and elderly have been killed and thousands more maimed.
In a coup in 2007, Hamas overthrew the ruling Fatah party and cruelly murdered many of their Palestinian opponents in a civil war that lasted six days.
Since taking power, Hamas has turned the strip into an oppressive and cruel enclave that uses civilian infrastructure for terror operations, trains their children to kill Jews, kills members of the LGTB+ community, and puts their plan of destroying Israel ahead of the welfare of its own citizens, even using funds given to them as humanitarian aid for this deadly pipe dream.
Tens of thousands of Iranian and locally made rockets have been fired from Gaza into Israeli territory. These rockets are unguided, uncontrolled and land in areas that put millions of innocent civilians in harm’s way. The most recent incident was on March 25, in which a home in Mishmeret in the Sharon region suffered a direct blow from a long-range missile
As an attempt to stop these rockets, the IDF was forced into 3 major campaigns; Operation Cast Lead (2008-2009), Operation Pillar of Defense (2012) and Operation Protective Edge (2014). Many casualties of non-involved Palestinians were caused by Hamas using people, including children, as human shields, hiding weapons in civilian and even UN infrastructure and even booby trapping civilian homes.
In the below video, Abu Bilal al Ja-abeer, a senior Hamas official, explains the use of human shields.
2 March of Return, Balloons and Eco-terrorism
On March 30, 2018, Hamas launched its weekly violent riots and attempts to breach Israeli territory and nearby communities. They disguised these riots as popular peace protests called “March of Return”, which coincided with their commemoration of “Land Day”.
These events, planned, operated and financed by Hamas include destruction of the security fence, placing explosives, flying incendiary kites, balloons and condoms towards local Israeli communities and causing ecological harm by deliberately setting fire to nearby forests and agricultural fields.
In these activities, Hamas freely sends children and teenagers to the fences often hidden by tire smoke to provoke the IDF into shooting them.
There is an added element to the Hamas-led events which is to divert the attention of its own citizens from the failings of Hamas to provide their own people with a proper well-being to the struggle against Israel.
Since Hamas has seized power in 2007, their prioritizing Israel’s destruction over the citizen population’s well-being has resulted in poverty, unemployment and failing public institutions including education, health, and infrastructure. Since it is easy to blame all their problems on the “Zionist Entity”, Hamas cynically deprives their citizens of basic needs and defers blame to Israel.
Hamas also uses its own population and civilian infrastructure to hide its terrorist and military activities. Hospitals, private homes and schools (even UNWRA schools) have been found to store rockets, mortars, and other military equipment. Rockets are being fired from civilian areas on or within very close proximity of schools, daycare centers and parks.
They do this to exploit the understanding that the IDF does all it can in order to avoid the loss of civilian life.
3 Asymmetrical Signs of Success
Hamas has placed themselves in a macabre win-win strategy that cynically plays on the Israel Defense Force’s self-imposed ethical restrictions.
For Hamas, when a Palestinian dies, it doesn’t matter who it is; combatant or innocent civilian, it is “good” for them.
If it’s a combatant, they are the heroic martyr who died a most honorable death. They will also make the case for the media and the UN that they were innocent, as clearly seen in the latest UNHRC report where not a single death was said to have been of a Hamas combatant’s.
If it’s an innocent civilian, they are paraded around for the media. It doesn’t even matter how they died. It could have been a completely unrelated death cause by an illness nowhere near the events. They will still sell it to the media as a death caused by Israel. This was the case with baby Layla Ghandour, an 8-month old baby who died from a hereditary blood condition. Her parents were paid by Hamas to claim that she had died inhaling tear gas at the border.
For the IDF, every death is bad. Leaving a terrorist unharmed may cause harm to innocent Israeli citizens. If it’s a non-involved Palestinian, a death is the tragic loss of life of someone who was purposely placed in harm’s way by the enemy. It’s the inevitable coverage it will get from the press and social media, and it’s the condemnation the IDF will received from world bodies.
4 Human Rights Abuses
What often gets ignored by the media, public bodies and NGOs is the human rights abuses Hamas does on its own people on a daily basis.
The media rarely hears about these cases unless Israel is somehow involved, but the fact is, they are more common than most people think. Even with proven evidence, Hamas is rarely, if ever condemned for their actions.
Groups affected by this abuse include; dissenters and critics of Hamas, children, LGTB+ community, women and people of non-Sunni Muslim religion.
Hamas has a dark and continuing history of repressing any of their dissenters since the Gaza civil war in June 2007. Members of the Fatah party were tortured, killed and paraded in public. Any person who dares criticize Hamas in public will be branded a “collaborator for Israel” and publicly executed. According to a Human Rights Watch report, conditions in Palestinian prisons have abysmal human rights and frequently include torture and other forms of abuse.
Since March 2019, due to higher costs of living, increased taxes and other economic hardships, the citizens of Gaza started to protest Hamas. As a reminder, Hamas exploits the money it receives that is meant for humanitarian use for financing terror operations, rockets, building attack tunnels among other belligerent activities.
Hamas has violently repressed these protests by beating the protesters, firing shots in the air and arresting many protesters and journalists.
Palestinian writer and political figure Atef Abu Saif was severely beaten by masked Hamas figures and had multiple bones broken in his body after publicly criticizing Hamas’s recent crackdown.
4.3 LGTB Community