Saturday, August 13th | 16 Av 5782

March 30, 2018 8:26 am

Gaza March Uses Civilian Human Shields to Trap Israel

avatar by Abraham Cooper and Harold Brackman


Hamas supporters take part in a rally celebrating the 30th anniversary of the group’s founding, in Gaza City on Dec. 14, 2017. Photo: Reuters / Mohammed Salem.

Americans just witnessed hundreds of thousands of high school kids exercising a powerful, collective voice as they marched on Washington, DC, demanding better protection from gun violence.

Regardless of what one thinks of gun control, it would take the heart of Pharoah not to be profoundly moved. Sadly, we are about to see a different kind of march on the other side of the world. In Gaza, the murderous Hamas and other terroristic affiliates are putting the final touches on a plan to deploy kids as human shields, sending them — during Passover — to march en-masse on Israel’s borders.   

Hamas has designated March 30 for the “March of Return” — coinciding with Palestinian “Land Day.” The goal is to force the so-called “right of return” of millions of Palestinians, most of whom never have foot in Israel. Such a demand would bring about the end of the Jewish State of Israel — meaning that it is never going to happen,

Hamas knows this. This “March of Return” is merely a cynical euphemism for a terrorist incursion. It calls for Palestinians to mass in tents along Gaza’s border with Israel; then, “peaceful” mobs — accompanied by a sophisticated and coordinated social media campaign and no doubt Al Jazeera — will attempt to break through the border fence in order to attack Israelis during one of their holiest observences. (Imagine if Jews attempted such a provocation during Ramadan.)

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No matter how Israelis respond, the theory goes, they lose.

If the military does nothing, such “theater” will expand and escalate. In fact, violent groups are slated to march in the West Bank. In Jerusalem, Turkish-financed “pilgrims” are supposed to converge on the Temple Mount and the Al-Aqsa Mosque, directly above the Western Wall. If any protester is hurt or dies by Israeli security personnel, the media will hang Israel out to dry, not Hamas.  

And should tensions escalate, we should also look for such activity along Israel’s tense borders with Hezbollah-controlled Lebanon and Jordan’s Hashemite Kingdom, where Hamas has a major following. Beyond this month’s March of Return, other “return” actions will include a replay of efforts to break the naval embargo on Gaza, and violent confrontations during May’s 70th anniversary of Israel’s independence and June’s Al-Quds Day.  

Ironically, 13 years ago, there would have been no fence to breach. After the 1967 war, barriers separating Arabs in the Gaza Strip from their Jewish neighbors did not exist. Whatever fences and walls now standing came largely as the result of the late Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s good-faith, unilateral withdrawal from Gaza — in the name of peace and the thousands of suicide bombings, missile attacks and terror tunnels that Hamas has unleashed ever since.

Hamas leaders are not stupid nor naïve. They know the Right of Return” is a non-starter. So to understand the real purpose of these actions, it’s necessary to examine who — in addition to Hamas — is behind “The Right of Return March.” Officially, Khaled al-Batsh will lead the march. He is a leader of Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip, an arm of Iran’s Islamic Republic, which openly seeks to surround and destroy Israel by any means, including nuclear weapons.

Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is certainly pleased. Currently preoccupied with crushing independence-minded Kurds, his ultimate ambition is to become the Mideast’s new sultan. Erdoğan’s strategy revolves around continuously inflaming passions in the Holy Land, including support for Hamas, with the hope that the Arab street will rally around him. Just this week, in fact, followers of Jubaili Ahmet Hodja, an antisemitic Turkish cleric with ties to Erdogan’s party tried to ignite a religious confrontation with Jewish worshippers at the Tomb of Samuel, overlooking Jerusalem.  

Nonviolent marches — including children marchers, like those in DC — have a place in today’s world. The US civil rights marches during the 1960s are a shining example of what can happen when peace-minded leaders effectively organize mass rallies designed to inspire unity and widespread support for a just cause. Unfortunately, many Palestinians brainwash and indoctrinate impressionable children,while training their older brothers or cousins as human explosives or martyrs-in waiting.

Using children as soldiers is a crime under the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949. In 1977, “child soldiers” were granted protection from military conscription for the first time. In 1989, the UN Convention on The Rights of the Child extended these protections. Donor nations to the Palestinians, including 68 nations who write checks to UNRWA, should be taking careful notes during Friday’s march. If Palestinian leaders again use children as human shields, the international community should take action against them rather than endorsing this insidious practice as a platform for more insidious anti-Israel headlines and resolutions.

As usual, we can expect Israeli police personnel and the IDF to show remarkable restraint. But at some point, they will be forced to do what it takes to protect the Israeli people. We’ve seen this horrible scenario play out too many times.

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