Smoke & Mirrors: Six Weeks of Violence on the Gaza Border

Smoke & Mirrors: Six Weeks of Violence on the Gaza Border, by Richard Kemp. A far more realistic and informative analysis than you’ll find in the mainstream media. Some excerpts:

The UN and EU, NGOs, government officials and media — primary targets for Hamas — have been willingly taken in. For example a Guardian headline, ‘The use of lethal force to cow nonviolent demonstrations by Palestinians’, blatantly misrepresents the violent reality that has been plain for all to see….

In reality these demonstrations are far from peaceful and do not pursue any so-called ‘right of return’. Rather they are carefully planned and orchestrated military operations intended to break through the border of a sovereign state and commit mass murder in the communities beyond, using their own civilians as cover. The purpose: to criminalise and isolate the State of Israel. …

Hamas is currently planning to mobilise up to 200,000 people to the Gaza border, which — if it materialises — will be well over twice the maximum number seen previously. Hamas will also be determined to incite greater violence than ever before, and to make significant penetrations of the border fence. In the face of such efforts it is likely that there will be very high casualty figures among Palestinians. ….

The stated intention is not just to demonstrate, but to actually break through the border fence en masse and physically march in their thousands through the State of Israel. …

The real goal of Hamas’s violence is to continue their long-standing strategy of creating and intensifying international outrage, vilification, isolation and criminalisation of the State of Israel and its officials. This strategy includes creating situations which compel the IDF to respond with lethal force so that they are seen to kill and wound ‘innocent’ Palestinian civilians. …

Critical elements of these tactics are the use of Palestinian human shields — civilians, often including women and children, who are either forced or volunteer to be present in locations from where attacks are launched or commanded; or where fighters, combat supplies and munitions are located; so that Israeli military response will include potential harm to these civilians.

In some cases, including during the current wave of violence, we have seen Hamas present their fighters as innocent civilians; numerous fake incidents staged and filmed which purport to show civilians being killed and wounded by Israeli forces; and films of violence from elsewhere, eg Syria, portrayed as violence against Palestinians. …

Hamas’s tactics in these carefully planned and orchestrated military operations is to mass crowds at border locations and to use their fighters as well as groups of civilians to approach and penetrate the fence. They have used smoke screens created by thousands of burning tires to obfuscate their movements towards the fence (and rather ineffectively have attempted to use mirrors to blind IDF observers and sharp-shooters). They have also used burning tires and petrol bombs to attempt to breach the fence, which includes wooden components, in various places. …

In addition Hamas and their cohorts have deployed grappling irons, ropes, wire cutters and other tools to break down the fence. They have used drones, potentially lethal slingshots to hurl rocks at soldiers, firearms, hand grenades and improvised explosive devices, both to kill Israeli soldiers and to penetrate the fence. …

Burning kites have been flown from Gaza across the border intended to ignite crops and grass on the Israeli side to cause economic damage and to kill and maim. These may sound like a primitive and even laughable weapon, yet on 4th May Palestinians had prepared hundreds of firebomb kites, intending to fly them as swarms into Israel, exploiting an intense heat wave. Only adverse wind conditions prevented their deployment and potential serious harm. …

So far Hamas has not succeeded in significant penetrations of the fence. If however they did, it is to be expected that they would seek to pour thousands of people through the gaps. Among them would be armed terrorists intent on reaching Israeli communities and carrying out mass murder and abductions. …

In this scenario, with armed terrorists indistinguishable from unarmed civilians, who themselves often also pose a violent threat, it is hard to see how the IDF could avoid inflicting heavy casualties in defence of their territory and people. …

Many have argued that Israel should have acted differently in response to this threat … Yet despite their condemnations, none of these officials, or any other experts, has so far put forward any viable alternative courses of action to prevent violent penetration of Israel’s borders. …

Those who argue that the IDF should not have resorted to live ammunition in this situation are in fact arguing that they should have waited to act until tens of thousands of violent rioters (and amongst them, terrorists) had stormed into Israeli territory and were perilously close to Israeli civilians, security forces and property. …

Some have also contended that they could find no evidence of any ‘protester’ using firearms. They fail to understand that this type of conflict is not about uniformed armies confronting each other openly carrying guns. In these circumstances firearms are not needed to present a threat. In fact the opposite is the case given their known objectives and modus operandi. Their weapons are wire cutters, grappling hooks, ropes, smokescreens, fire and concealed explosives.