Hamas actively enlisted support for the violent riots and attempted infiltrations into Israeli territory along the Gaza border over the past seven weeks, and then used the ensuing violence to deceive Western leaders and media outlets, Israel’s top military spokesman has claimed in a new Wall Street Journal piece.
Writing in the Journal Sunday, Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis, the IDF’s chief spokesman, detailed Hamas’ efforts to provoke clashes between Israeli security personnel and rioters on the border, paying Gazans to flood the Israel-Gaza border in an attempt to breach Israel’s security fence and force their way into Israeli territory.
The riots, which began on March 30th, were dubbed the “March of Return”, were organized by the High Coordination Committee for the March of Return, a body dominated by members of the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror groups.
Hamas, Manelis noted, bused rioters to the Israel-Gaza frontier, paying rioters $14 a person to join in the clashes. The terror group even encouraged women and children to participate, paying $100 to families which came together to the riots. The terror group even subsidized injuries – paying out $500 to those wounded while attempting to breach the Israeli border.
Meanwhile, plainclothes Hamas terrorists mingled with the crowd, inciting violence and leading armed charges of the Israeli border while carrying “machine guns, Molotov cocktails…improvised explosive devices, and grenades”.
While Hamas and its supporters used the resulting violence, which left more 110 rioters dead, including roughly 60 fatalities last Monday, the terror group has been surprisingly candid at times regarding the campaign to breach the Israeli border.
On May 16th, just days after more than 60 rioters were killed attempting to breach the Israeli border fence, senior Hamas leader Salah Bardawil admitted that of the estimated 62 fatalities “50 of them were Hamas”. Others were identified as members of rival terror groups, including Islamic Jihad – disproving the narrative adopted by Israel’s critics in the West that the IDF was using “excessive force” against peaceful civilian demonstrators.
Manelis cited another senior Hamas leader, Mahmoud Al-Zahar, who on May 13th admitted in an Al Jazeera interview that claims that the riots on the Israeli border were “peaceful resistance” were false.
“When we talk about ‘peaceful resistance,’ we are deceiving the public,” said Al-Zahar.
Despite this admissions, Manelis argued, some Western media outlets continued to push the narrative favored by Hamas “by publishing its lies rather than the facts”.
A day after the most intense clashes on the Israel-Gaza border, the New York-based Daily Newsblasted not only Israel, but the Trump administration as well for unveiling the new US embassy in Jerusalem Monday, while Gaza rioters attempted to breach the security fence.
Other outlets dropped reference to the violent nature of the Gaza riots from their headlines, with Yahoo News publishing an article Tuesday with the headline: “Israeli forces kill dozens in Gaza as U.S. Embassy opens in Jerusalem”.
One New York Times headline created a similar narrative: “Israel Kills Dozens at Gaza Border as U.S. Embassy Opens in Jerusalem”
Days later, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) chastised the media over its coverage of the riots.
“In these battles for survival that Israel faces daily, we can count on global media elites acting as little more than propaganda arms for Hamas and other terrorists,” Cruz said Thursday.
“I direct you to the front page of the New York Times from this week. The New York Times’headline, ‘Israel Kills Dozens at Gaza Border as U.S. Embassy Opens in Jerusalem’. Now anyone reading this headline [might think] - ‘Goodness gracious. Why are the Israelis murdering people?’ That’s what the New York Times says. One takes from the coverage apparently poor, innocent, unarmed people are being shot for no reason by Israel. That’s certainly what the global media elite are portraying.”
“What are the actual facts? You remember facts. The things that used to be reported when journalists were actually being journalists and not propagandists. Well let’s talk about the facts.”