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March 30, 2019 2:20 pm

IDF Spokesman: Hamas Acted With ‘Restraint’ During Weekend Gaza Border Riots

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

Palestinians gather as tear gas is fired by Israeli forces during a protest marking Land Day and the first anniversary of a surge of border riots, at the Israel-Gaza border fence east of Gaza City, March 30, 2019. Photo: REUTERS/Mohammed Salem.

An Israel Defense Forces spokesperson said on Saturday that Hamas had acted with unprecedented restraint during the weekend Gaza border riots, helping to contain what was feared to be an exceptionally violent event.

A massive crowd was expected on the border, as it was the first anniversary of the weekly riots. The anniversary coincided with the Palestinian “Land Day,” which marks demonstrations against what Palestinians claim is Israeli seizure of Arab property.

In the end, some 40,000 people rioted. Palestinian sources reported that two were killed by IDF fire and 316 wounded.

According to Hebrew news site Walla, spokesman Ronen Manelis said that Hamas had displayed “restraint that we haven’t seen the likes of which over the last year.”

“There were hundreds of Hamas people with orange vests who separated the crowd from the [border] fence,” he noted.

However, he added, “It wasn’t hermetic. There were places where violence was carried out against those who arrived at the fence.”

Manelis also noted, “At the same time, everything is fragile. Everything depends on what the night looks like,” referring to recent nighttime riots that have seen explosives thrown at the border in order to terrorize Gaza border communities.

“We have no intention of putting up with nights when the Gaza envelope is sleepless,” he added. “We are not withdrawing forces at this stage.”

An anonymous government source was also quoted by Walla, referring to last week’s IDF retaliatory strikes after a rocket fired from Gaza leveled a family’s home in central Israel: “As a result of Israeli policies, including powerful Air Force attacks, serious warnings conveyed to Hamas, and massive IDF deployment presided over by Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu — the events on the border passed relatively quietly.”

The official also expressed Israel’s satisfaction with Egyptian mediation efforts.

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