On May 14, as United States officials ceremoniously relocated the American Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, tens of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza — many of them members of Hamas and Iran-linked Islamic Jihad, along with other residents paid to participate — engaged in violent demonstrations along the Gaza-Israel border fence. Dubbed the “Great March of Return,” these protests were launched on March 30 and timed to crescendo six weeks later, on the day of the U.S. Embassy move, which coincided with the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the state of Israel.
For weeks, rioters stormed the border, firing weapons and hurling Molotov cocktails and rocks at the Israeli soldiers who guard the area to prevent terrorist incursions into southern Israel.
The weeks of continuous rioting — planned by Hamas as part of its admitted campaign to destroy Israel through terrorism and delegitimization — has left dozens of Palestinians dead and hundreds wounded. The numbers were widely reported in the liberal media in Israel and abroad, and were accompanied by condemnations of Israel for its “excessive use of force” against “peaceful protesters.”
Although Hamas official Salah Bardawil announced that of the 62 people “martyred,” 50 were members of Hamas — while Islamic Jihad claimed another three — many journalists, opinion writers, international organizations and so-called human rights groups with a fixed idea about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in general and the current unrest in Gaza in particular did not let such information permeate their articles or declarations. Those who did include the statistic downplayed the fact that Hamas was paying impoverished Gaza residents to descend on the border of a neighboring country with the purpose not only of killing or kidnapping its residents, but also to get killed or wounded by sniper fire. In so doing, Hamas would be able to accuse its neighbor of the very war crimes Hamas itself has been committing.