Monday’s violent protests in Gaza — which left at least 52 Palestinians killed by Israeli forces — clearly were meant to distract from the historic opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem.
To a significant measure, they succeeded: Many news outlets gave equal or greater coverage to the demonstrations. Foreign officials criticized Israel. The United Nations called on the Jewish state to “respect the right to peacefully protest.”
But “peaceful protests” hardly describes this latest in a series of Hamas efforts to get Gazans to breach the border. As one Palestinian told The Washington Post: “We are excited to storm and get inside.” Asked what he would do inside Israel, he responded: “Whatever is possible, to kill, throw stones.”
Hamas organizers even encouraged demonstrators to burst through the fences by falsely telling them Israeli soldiers were fleeing their positions in fear.
Those killed and wounded by Israeli border-defense troops weren’t singing and chanting peacefully. They were planting explosives, firing guns and launching Molotov cocktails and kites carrying burning fuel into Israeli territory to set farm fields aflame.
Hamas officials told them their mission was to “liberate Palestine” — one more sign that the terrorists who run Gaza have no intention of ever accepting Israel’s existence.
What kind of people react to a move by America — recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving its embassy there — by targeting violence against another country, Israel? (No one rioted when the UN General Assembly recognized “Palestine.”)
In the most cynical turn, Hamas ordered rioters to set fire to and destroy the main crossing for commercial goods and humanitarian aid into Gaza.
In short, Israel successfully defended a violent attack by an enemy openly calling for its destruction. Any other country would do the same, and rightly so.
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