In the sixth consecutive Friday of violence on Israel’s southern border, Palestinian protesters damaged infrastructure essential for the well-being of Gaza’s residents while attacking the security fence. It was the first Friday protest in which no Gazans died but IDF videos expose children being used as human shields and injuries being faked for the media.
“Palestinian rioters vandalized and set ablaze the pipes that carry fuel and gas, as well as several of the crossings where humanitarian aid from the State of Israel and the international community passes into the Gaza Strip in order to improve the wellbeing of Gaza residents,” the IDF statement read. “The rioters burned offices, buildings, and gas tanks, and damaged fences and gate.”
The Friday night fire caused massive damage to the Kerem Shalom crossing that is used to bring humanitarian aid from Israel into Gaza. It is not known whether the destruction caused by the protesters will prevent aid from reaching Gaza.
Breaking news: Palestinian rioters are now sacking the ONLY humanitarian crossing, through which Israel provides food, fuel and all other goods to the people in Gaza. Peaceful protest? pic.twitter.com/oOHOpPaN83
— Jonathan Conricus (@LTCJonathan) May 4, 2018
“Hamas thereby acts against the interests of Gaza residents and worsens their situation for its own purpose,” the IDF statement concluded.
In addition, protesters continued to burn tires and fly kites loaded with fire-bombs over the border into Israel. Two major wildfires were started this week by kites from Gaza. The IDF warned Israelis not to approach Gazan kites that land in Israel, saying they may be booby-trapped with explosives.
The IDF stopped two attempts to penetrate the security fence. In one attempt, the perpetrators succeeded in attaching explosives to the fence. Al Jazeera news posted a video of a group of men cutting the security fence and passing through while one shouted, “Allahu Akhbar” (Allah is greater). Several of the men are seen brandishing large knives. The IDF arrives and the men return to the Gazan side of the fence.
The six-week March of Return protests began on March 30 with 30,000 Gazans gathering on Israel’s southern border. Fewer Gazans have been participating in the protests each week. Though Palestinian sources claim the protests are non-violent, there is a vast amount of video evidence that this is not the case. Protesters use slings and jury-rigged catapults loaded with firebombs to attack IDF troops protecting the border. In addition, thousands of tires have been burned to obscure the IDF’s field of view. The IDF has responded with crowd control measures such as tear gas and rubber bullets. As per the IDF’s rules-of-engagement, the soldiers resorted to sniper fire in life-threatening situations. As a result, 43 Palestinians have been killed by IDF gunfire since the protests began.
Israel has blamed Hamas for inciting violence in order to use Palestinian injuries to turn public opinion against Israel. As proof of their claims against Hamas, an IDF video shows multiple cases of violent protesters using children as human shields.
Another video shows an injured protester being carried away by four stretcher-bearers. At one point, the stretcher is lowered and the man on the stretcher stands up and runs away.
Hamas blamed the IDF for the deaths of six Gazans in an explosion on Saturday evening. The IDF denied any involvement in the incident. Al-Masdar News (AMN), an Arabic news site based in Syria, named the six people killed and identified them as members of membIzz al-Deen al-Qassam Brigades (Armed wing of Hamas). According to AMN, the six died in a training accident.