IDF: Hamas operated with unprecedented restraint during Land Day protests
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IDF: Hamas operated with unprecedented restraint during Land Day protests

As demonstrations wind down, diplomatic official attributes relative quiet to government’s restrained conduct along with Egypt’s mediation efforts

Jacob Magid is the settlements correspondent for The Times of Israel.

  • Palestinians riot along the Gaza border during Land Day demonstrations on March 30, 2019. (IDF)
    Palestinians riot along the Gaza border during Land Day demonstrations on March 30, 2019. (IDF)
  • Tear gas canisters fall amongst Palestinians during a demonstration near the border with Israel, in Malaka east of Gaza City, on March 30, 2019 (Mahmud Hams/AFP)
    Tear gas canisters fall amongst Palestinians during a demonstration near the border with Israel, in Malaka east of Gaza City, on March 30, 2019 (Mahmud Hams/AFP)
  • Illustrative: Israeli soldiers gather at a position on the border with the Gaza Strip near Kibbutz Nahal Oz in southern Israel on March 30, 2019. (Jack Guez/AFP)
    Illustrative: Israeli soldiers gather at a position on the border with the Gaza Strip near Kibbutz Nahal Oz in southern Israel on March 30, 2019. (Jack Guez/AFP)
  • Palestinians gather near the border with Israel in Malaka east of Gaza City on March 30, 2019, as they mark the anniversary of the "March of Return" border protests. (Mahmud Hams/AFP)
    Palestinians gather near the border with Israel in Malaka east of Gaza City on March 30, 2019, as they mark the anniversary of the "March of Return" border protests. (Mahmud Hams/AFP)
  • Palestinians gather near the border with Israel in Malaka east of Gaza City on March 30, 2019, as Palestinians mark the first anniversary of the "March of Return" border protests. (Mahmud Hams/AFP)
    Palestinians gather near the border with Israel in Malaka east of Gaza City on March 30, 2019, as Palestinians mark the first anniversary of the "March of Return" border protests. (Mahmud Hams/AFP)
  • This picture taken on March 30, 2019, in Kibbutz Nahal Oz across the border from the Gaza Strip shows a tear gas canister falling among Palestinians near the security fence as they mark the first anniversary of the 'March of Return' protests. (Jack Guez/AFP)
    This picture taken on March 30, 2019, in Kibbutz Nahal Oz across the border from the Gaza Strip shows a tear gas canister falling among Palestinians near the security fence as they mark the first anniversary of the 'March of Return' protests. (Jack Guez/AFP)
  • This picture taken on March 30, 2019, shows Israeli Merkava tanks stationed near the border with the Gaza Strip in southern Israel. (Jack Guez/AFP)
    This picture taken on March 30, 2019, shows Israeli Merkava tanks stationed near the border with the Gaza Strip in southern Israel. (Jack Guez/AFP)
  • Palestinians gather near the border with Israel in Malaka east of Gaza City on March 30, 2019, as they mark the first anniversary of the 'March of Return' border protests. (Mahmud Hams/AFP)
    Palestinians gather near the border with Israel in Malaka east of Gaza City on March 30, 2019, as they mark the first anniversary of the 'March of Return' border protests. (Mahmud Hams/AFP)
  • Commanding Officer of the Southern Command, Maj. Gen. Herzi Halevi (L), the Commanding Officer of the Gaza Division, Brig. Gen. Eliezer Toledano (R) and additional commanders touring the Gaza border on March 30, 2019. (IDF)
    Commanding Officer of the Southern Command, Maj. Gen. Herzi Halevi (L), the Commanding Officer of the Gaza Division, Brig. Gen. Eliezer Toledano (R) and additional commanders touring the Gaza border on March 30, 2019. (IDF)

The Times of Israel liveblogged Saturday’s events as they happened.

Gazan said killed by Israeli fire ahead of expected mass protests

A Palestinian has been killed by IDF fire along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel, the Hamas-run health ministry says.

The ministry names the Palestinian as 20-year-old Mohammed Saad. It says he was hit in the head by shrapnel.

Palestinians at the site say he had been taking part in overnight clashes and was 100 meters from the heavily-fortified border fence when he was hit. They also say he had been on crutches due to a previous injury.

Protesters at the site said he had been taking part in an overnight rally ahead of the main demonstration scheduled for Saturday afternoon.

There is no immediate comment from the Israel Defense Forces.

The announcement comes ahead of expected mass demonstrations on the border today as Palestinians in Gaza mark one year since the start of the “March of Return” protests.

— with AFP

Hamas No. 2, Islamic Jihad head warn ready to respond to Israeli ‘aggression’

The deputy leader of Hamas and the head of Islamic Jihad warn of a harsh response to Israeli “aggression” during expected mass protests on the Gaza border later today.

“Any Israeli aggression against the demonstration on the border will be met with an answer in line with the scale of the aggression,” Israel’s Kann public broadcaster quotes Saleh al-Arouri and Ziad al-Nakhala during a meeting in Beirut yesterday.

2 minors caught crossing Gaza border fence with knife

Israeli forces arrest two Palestinian minors attempting to breach the security fence on the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip, according to the army.

The two are found with a knife and returned to Gaza after being questioned by troops.

Egyptian delegation said heading to Gaza border as protests set to begin

An Egyptian security delegation was on its way to the border region between Israel and the Gaza Strip near Gaza City, reports Shehab, a news site in the coastal enclave, ahead of expected mass protests marking one year since the “March of Return” demonstrations began.

Egyptian mediators have been working to reach a ceasefire deal between Israel and Hamas, the Islamist terror group that rules Gaza, in a bid to prevent major outbreaks of violence at today’s protests.

Hamas chief arrives at Gaza border as protests set to begin

Hamas terror group chief Ismail Haniyeh arrives in the border region between Israel and the Gaza Strip near Gaza City, Shehab reports.

— Adam Rasgon

IDF tells Gazans to ‘think hard’ about using violence

The IDF’s Arabic-language spokesman appeals directly to residents of the Gaza Strip ahead of today’s mass border protests, saying benefits could be in store if they refrain from violence.

“According to Palestinian reports, if you don’t act violently or with terror today, signifiant measures will be implemented that can improve a variety of civilian fields in the Gaza Strip,” Avichay Adraee writes on Facebook.

“Think hard before using violence and terror. Israel is determined to defend its citizens and its sovereignty,” he adds.

IDF: 5,500 Palestinians protesting along border, some throwing rocks

The army says roughly 5,500 Palestinians are protesting at several locations along the Gaza border.

Some are throwing rocks and burning tires near the fence. The army is using “riot dispersal measures” to scatter the demonstrators.

— Jacob Magid

Fire breaks out near Gaza border community; incendiary balloon suspected

A fire breaks out in a farming community in southern Israel near the Gaza Strip.

Authorities are looking into whether an incendiary balloon launched from Gaza sparked the blaze.

Army says 20,000 Palestinians rioting along Gaza border

Some 20,000 Palestinians are taking part in riots along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel, according to the army.

A number of grenades and explosives are thrown toward the security fence, as demonstrators also throw rocks and burn tires, the Israel Defense Forces say.

The army says soldiers are using “riot dispersal means” and live fire in accordance with IDF regulations.

It adds that most Palestinians attending the anniversary of the “March of Return” protests are at a distance from the border.

Red Crescent says 33 Palestinians injured in Gaza border clashes

The Palestine Red Crescent Society says 33 Palestinians have been injured in clashes along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel.

Four of the injured were wounded by live fire, it says.

Army says 30,000 Palestinians now taking part in border riots

The army increases its estimate of the number of Palestinians rioting along the Gaza border to 30,000.

Hamas warns ‘resistance is ready to respond’ if Israel doesn’t stop ‘violence’

A spokesman for Gaza’s Hamas rulers warns Israel that the terror group will respond if a reported ceasefire deal brokered by Egypt to end violence along the border isn’t honored.

“The resistance is ready on the ground and is following after Israel’s commitment to the understandings to stop the killing and violence,” Fawzi Barhoum says, according to the Ynet news site.

“If Israel won’t honor this, the resistance is ready to respond and change the equation. Today is a crossroads in our relation to the occupation,” he adds.

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum pauses during an interview with The Associated Press in Gaza City, February 7, 2012 (AP/Hatem Mousa)

17-year-old Palestinian killed during border protest, Gaza health ministry says

A 17-year-old Palestinian has been killed during the mass Land Day protest along the Gaza border, a spokesman for the coastal enclave’s health ministry says.

Adham Nidal Sakr Amara was the day’s second Palestinian casualty, but the first since the main demonstrations for Land Day started Saturday afternoon.

The spokesman did not specify what Amara had been struck with, but he said he was hit “directly in the face.”

The Hamas-linked Shehab news site reports that Amara was hit with Israeli fire.

 

Hamas chief makes appearance at Gaza’s Land Day protest

Hamas chief in the Gaza Strip Yahya Sinwar arrives at the border area between the coastal enclave and Israel near Khan Younis, the Hamas-linked al-Risala reports.

— Adam Rasgon

Hamas says long-term ceasefire talks still taking place

Deputy Hamas chief in the Gaza Strip Khalil al-Hayya says that Israel will deliver a timeframe to an Egyptian security delegation tomorrow regarding the implementation of understandings between terror groups in the coastal enclave and the Jewish state, the Hamas-linked al-Risala reports.

IDF: Number of Gazan protesters climbs to 40,000, but most staying away from fence

The army says that the number of Palestinians participating in the Land Day protest in Gaza has climbed to 40,000.

Some rioters are throwing stones and burning tires at several locations along the fence, the army says, while noting that the majority of the demonstrators are located “deep into the area” and not approaching the border.

The IDF says it is using riot dispersal measures to scatter the protesters and only employing live fire when necessary according to open-fire procedures.

112 Palestinians injured in Land Day demonstrations, Gaza health ministry says

A total of 112 Palestinians have been injured at protests in the border region between Israel and the Gaza Strip, the Hamas-run health ministry reports.

Three Palestinians were critically wounded, the ministry says, adding that most were lightly injured.

— Adam Rasgon

Red Crescent says one of its medics struck by IDF tear gas cannister

The Palestinian Red Crescent emergency service says one of its medics has been struck in the face with a tear gas canister fired by Israeli troops.

The IDF says it has been using riot dispersal measures, including tear gas, to scatter Palestinian rioters who have hurled stones and flaming tires at the border fence during the Land Day demonstrations.

Hamas’s Haniyeh arrives at Land Day protests

Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh and a group of other terror leaders arrive in the northern border region between Israel and the Gaza Strip, Hamas says in a statement.

IDF: Number of Land Day protesters drops to 19,000, with most staying away from fence

The number of Palestinians demonstrating in several locations along the Gaza border has dropped to 19,000, with most of them located in protest areas far from the security fence, the IDF says.

Some rioters are continuing to hurl stones toward the fence, the army adds.

Gaza health ministry says Land Day protest injury count at 207

A total of 207 Palestinians have been injured at protests in the border region between Israel and the Gaza Strip, the Hamas-run health ministry reports.

Four Palestinians were critically wounded, the ministry says, adding that most were lightly injured.

Number of Land Day protesters in Gaza drops to 6,000 as demonstrations wrap up

The number of Palestinians demonstrating in several locations along the Gaza border has dropped to 6,000, with most of them located in protest areas far from the security fence, the IDF says.

Some rioters are continuing to hurl stones toward the fence, the army adds.

IDF: Hamas operated with unprecedented restraint during Land Day protests

As the Land Day demonstrations wrap up throughout the Gaza Strip, IDF spokesman Ronen Manelis attributes the relatively calm protests to an unprecedented showing of restraint by the Hamas terror group that was behind them.

Manelis says Hamas operated with “restraint unlike any other in the past year.”

He explains that hundreds of Hamas members wearing orange vests spread out between the crowd and the fence, preventing mass rushes of demonstrators toward the border.

Manelis acknowledges that some Palestinians did demonstrate violently and attempted to approach the fence, but in those cases the IDF responded accordingly.

The IDF spokesman claimed that the army’s conduct in response to last week’s rocket fire, including the air strike that hit the office building of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, also contributed to the day’s relative calm.

“These (strikes) made it clear to Hamas where (violence) would lead them,” Manelis says.

Official: Restrained Israeli policy, Egyptian mediation led to quieter Land Day protest

An Israeli diplomatic official tells reporters that “thanks to the Israeli policy that included strong air force attacks, severe warnings to Hamas and the massive deployment of the IDF (along the Gaza border) at Prime Minister Netanyahu’s instructions, the events at the fence were relatively quiet.”

The official also says that Israel is “satisfied” with the Egyptian mediation efforts that contributed to the relatively calm Land Day protests in Gaza.

Second Gazan teen succumbs to wounds after being shot during Land Day protests

A Palestinian teenager was killed by Israeli fire in the border region between Israel and the Gaza Strip near Khan Younis, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.

Tamer Abu Khair, 17, was hit by an Israeli bullet in the chest and subsequently died, the ministry says.

A total of three Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire on Saturday, the ministry adds. The first casualty took place before the protests began.

— Adam Rasgon

PM thanks security forces for successfully maintaining relative calm during Gaza protests

Prime Minister Netanyahu “expressed his appreciation to the ground forces of the Southern Command, the Air Force and the other security branches for their aggressive activity and massive preparations that helped bring about calm,” during the Land Day protests in Gaza, a statement from the PMO says.

Gaza health ministry updates Land Day protest injury count to 317

A total of 316 Palestinians have been injured at protests in the border region between Israel and the Gaza Strip during today’s Land Day protests, the Hamas-run health ministry reports.

Five Palestinians were critically wounded, the ministry says, adding that most were lightly injured.

Bennett and Shaked vow to vote against ceasefire deal with Hamas

Ministers Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked of the New Right party vow to vote against a long-term ceasefire deal between Israel and Hamas, if such an offer were to be brought to the security cabinet.

“It’s not for nothing that Israelis are feeling humiliated. [Hamas leaders] Sinwar and Haniyeh are celebrating victory, with no fear that Israel will eliminate them. That is not how to create a deterrence,” the ministers say.

The statement comes as reports intensify regarding an emerging long-term truce between Israel in the terror group following today’s relative calm along the Gaza border, despite the mass Land Day protests.

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