Ismail Haniyeh, the prime minister of Hamas in Gaza, told thousands of worshippers on Sunday May 15th to pray for the end of Israel, adding:
“Palestinians mark the Naqba with great hope of bringing to an end the Zionist project in Palestine.”
In a coordinated multi-front assault from Gaza, the West Bank, Syria, and Lebanon, tens of thousands of Arab protesters heeded the Hamas terrorist’s call. Marking Palestinian Nakba Day (the day of the “catastrophe,” as they like to refer to the day of Israel’s creation), they streamed en masse to Israel’s various borders, intending to infiltrate the Jewish State and wreak havoc.
As many as 1,000 busloads of Lebanese and Palestinians living in Lebanon descended on the Israeli frontier where mobs began hurling rocks over the border. Carrying Palestinian flags and chanting “we want our land back,” many protesters approached the electric fence that separates Lebanon from Israel.
Lebanese army troops tried but failed to quell the violence, shooting in the air and ordering the protesters away from the fence. The protesters pelted the Lebanese troops with stones and then turned their fury on Israeli soldiers who were maintaining defensive positions on the Israeli side of the fence.
Some protesters succeeded in breaching Israel’s border and entered Israel illegally despite attempts by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) at first to use non-lethal force to stop them and contain the mob violence. However, IDF Spokesman Brigadier General Yoav Mordechai confirmed that IDF troops did ultimately open fire at the large crowd of protesters who approached the border with Israel, resulting in at least four protesters’ deaths.
Some 20,000 Syrians also tried to enter Israeli territory. Presumably frustrated with their inability to bring down their own despot whose regime has killed hundreds of unarmed Syrian dissidents, they decided to turn their anger on Israel.
“This appears to be a cynical and transparent act by the Syrian leadership to deliberately create a crisis on the border so as to distract attention from the very real problems that the regime is facing at home,” a senior Israeli government official who declined to be named was quoted as saying by the Associated Press.
Four people were reportedly shot dead by Israel Defense Forces troops trying to defend the Israeli side of Syria’s southern border with Israel.
“IDF forces opened fire in order to prevent the violent rioters from illegally infiltrating Israeli territory. A number of rioters have infiltrated and are violently rioting in the village. From initial reports there are dozens of injured that are receiving medical care in a nearby hospital,” said an IDF spokesman.
In Qalandia, a main Israel-West Bank crossing near Ramallah, some 600 Palestinians were violently rioting, hurling rocks and setting fires, Israel Radio reported. This follows riots in East Jerusalem over the weekend.
Thirteen IDF soldiers were wounded during the course of the Palestinian Nakba Day riots and encroachments across Israel’s borders.
Considering the violent provocations and illegal incursions into Israel on multiple fronts that heightened terrorist threats inside Israel, the IDF forces showed remarkable restraint – opening fire only as a last resort in self-defense. The deaths are tragic, but the Palestinians’ violence set the chain of events in motion that led to those deaths and many injuries.
Not surprisingly, the United Nations continues to blame Israel for whatever harm befalls the Palestinians.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on all parties to show restraint, but then linked the violence to the “the unsustainable status quo in the Arab-Israeli conflict.” He stressed in his statement concerning the Palestinian riots that there must be “an end to occupation, an end to conflict, and a just and agreed solution to the plight of Palestinian refugees.”
What about an end to the rockets launched against Israeli school children? The Palestinian rioters’ solution is Hamas’s solution – the full return of all Palestinian refugees and their descendants to the land of Israel and the end of the Jewish State.
United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos issued the following statement on the occasion of Palestinian Nakba Day:
“Palestinians are utterly frustrated by the impact of Israeli policies on their lives… I am extremely concerned at the level of violence today, and at the number of deaths and injuries in the region. The situation cannot continue in this way. It is innocent people who are losing their lives.”
Not a single word about the Hamas prime minister’s incitement to violence or about the coordinated mobilization of tens of thousands of Palestinians and their supporters to the Israeli borders. There the whipped up mobs conducted violent demonstrations and some of the protesters infiltrated Israel with possible terrorist attacks in mind.
In a press release marking Palestinian Nakba Day issued by Richard Falk, the UN’s Special Rapporteur for the Palestinian Territories Occupied since 1967, and released under the auspices of the Office of the High Commission for Human Rights in Geneva, Falk accused Israel of a “legacy of ethnic cleansing” going back to “the Nakba on 15 May 1948.” He charged that Israel has employed “sinister schemes…over the years to rid historic Palestine of its original inhabitants, in order to make space for Israeli citizens.”
Not a single word about the Palestinians’ and their Arab neighbors’ rejection of the UN’s original two-state solution under the partition plan and their use of violence to try and kill Israel at its infancy. Instead, the Palestinians could have turned “Nakba” into a day of celebration for the Palestinians’ own 63rd year of independence. And no mention whatsoever about the fact that more Jews were expelled from their homelands in Arab countries than Palestinians who left pre-1967 Israel (many leaving voluntarily believing that the Jews would soon be driven into the sea). The difference is that Israel absorbed the Jews who were expelled from their homes and made them Israeli citizens. By contrast, the surrounding Arab countries, including the Palestinian majority nation of Jordan, have preferred to let the Palestinian refugees suffer in camps rather than to absorb them as citizens.
The Palestinians and their supporters who rioted on Palestinian Nakba Day are not interested in the peaceful co-existence of a Palestinian State and Jewish State. They want what Hamas’s leaders have said repeatedly they want – an end to the Jewish State of Israel altogether.
Will President Obama fall for the propaganda sure to come out of the Muslim world, blaming Israel for what happened as a result of the Palestinians’ latest self-imposed catastrophe? Will he fall for the reconciliation pact between Hamas and Fatah in the vain belief that Hamas can be steered in a more moderate direction? We will have to wait and see. However, if his administration’s embrace of Hamas’s parent, the Muslim Brotherhood, is any indication, it is a good bet that Obama will end up turning on Israel no matter what violence the Palestinians cause.
Joseph Klein is the author of a recent book entitled Lethal Engagement: Barack Hussein Obama, the United Nations and Radical Islam.