An estimated 5,000 Gazans rioted along the security fence with Israel on Friday, throwing rocks and firebombs at IDF troops stationed along the fence. Terrorists continued sending incendiary aerial devices over the border, igniting a fire in the Sha’ar HaNegev region of southern Israel.
The IDF detonated an explosive device that had been placed on the border fence.
The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza reported approximately 189 demonstrators were wounded in clashes with IDF troops, including 50 who were hit by live fire while trying to breach the fence. To date, at least 171 Gazans have been killed in the Hamas-led March of Return protests. Riots have flared up every Friday since March 30.
Earlier this month, Hamas fired almost 200 rockets at Israel. The IDF retaliated by hitting over 140 Hamas military targets.
Hamas has called a ceasefire, negotiated through Egyptian and UN officials, several times. Khalil al-Hayya, a member of the Hamas political bureau and a senior member of the movement’s leadership in the Gaza Strip, discussed the possibility of a truce in an interview with the Hamas newspaper Falastin, saying that a precondition to negotiations would be the release of all Palestinian security prisoners in Israeli jails.
“Until now the occupation (i.e. Israel) was not seriously prepared to pay the price and was not prepared to enter this track,” al-Haya said. “Our conditions (for the exchange deal) reached the occupation through a number of officials.”
At a meeting with leaders of Gaza border communities on Friday, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman rejected the idea of a negotiated ceasefire.
“I do not believe in cease-fire agreements. The only ‘agreement’ I will accept is the situation on the ground. If there is quiet that means there is a ceasefire. In the past few days we have seen that there is quiet, which means that Hamas is in complete control of what is going on.”
“If there is terror, they will not have an economy, and if there is no terror they will have an economy. There is a direct connection, that is the message I am trying to convey to Gaza residents. This is an important message for the average Gazan who is trying to feed his family.”