The army’s spokesman on Monday evening calls the level of violence by Palestinians during protests along the Gaza border “unprecedented.”
However, despite the fierceness of the clashes, IDF Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis says the Hamas terrorist group, which rules the Gaza Strip, appears to have failed to bring out the numbers of protesters that would have signified a political victory.
Hamas — and the IDF — anticipated that over 100,000 people would participate in Monday’s demonstrations along the border fence. Ultimately, the army calculated that only 40,000 people took part, though Manelis acknowledges the final tally may be higher.
Manelis says Hamas attempted to convince and pressure Palestinians into coming to the border protests, tried to bribe them by offering “$100 per family that comes,” and also threatened residents by accusing them of being “collaborators” with Israel if they do not attend the protests.
Despite those efforts, Manelis says, “Hamas failed.”
Army officials say they were prepared for the protests to last into the night. Soldiers on the border, for instance, are outfitted with night vision equipment, and the military was ready to use flares to illuminate the area. Manelis says the IDF was expecting protests to continue on Tuesday and potentially for several additional days.
— Judah Ari Gross