The number of Gaza residents willing to participate in Hamas’ riots along the border fence is dropping, as seen at last Friday’s protest. Hamas is no longer hiding the fact that the demonstrations are not intended to be quiet marches, but violent attempts to carry out attacks on Israeli soldiers and civilians, damage the Israeli border fence and military equipment, and burn fields and forests.
We can assume that leading up to May 15, on which the Palestinians mark the Nakba (or “Catastrophe”) of their displacement during Israel’s 1948 War of Independence, the border will heat up again. Hamas will encourage Gazans to head out for the “marches of return,” reminding Israel and the world that the Palestinians are still committed to the dream of return, which in essence means the destruction of the State of Israel.
As Hamas prepares for more rounds of violence, since it has nothing to offer the residents of Gaza other than that, the Palestinian Authority (PA) in Ramallah has been keeping mum. This is due in part to internecine Palestinian power struggles — primarily, the fight over who will succeed PA leader Mahmoud Abbas — but also because Abbas and his friends do not want and actually cannot escape the trap that they closed on themselves when they turned up their noses at the Trump administration’s attempts to kick-start the peace process.