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IDF falls into Hamas’ trap on Gaza border

It took Israel three weeks to understand what was evident from the beginning: that only restraint could minimize the number of casualties on the Gaza border fence.

One of the most infuriating aspects of the conflict taking place on the Gaza border over the last few weeks is that there are no surprises in this script. The Palestinians in this crowded prison are ready — at least some are — to risk their lives in order to express their rage. The most powerful army in the region, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), still does not know exactly how to deal with unarmed civilians. So it shoots. Hamas sees the popular protest initiative as a blessing and grants it resources and an institutional framework, where every Palestinian casualty counts as an achievement. Some of the world criticizes Israel for disproportionate use of force, but since the United States is not participating in this critique, the Netanyahu government is not worried.

It is a script with a familiar ending, also because it has a deadline: May 15, the day the Palestinian people mark as Nakba Day (Day of Catastrophe), marking the establishment of Israel. On this date the last and largest demonstration is set to take place, where Palestinians are expected to be killed in larger numbers than in previous weeks. After that, most likely, Fridays will return to normal. Hamas will see this as a “victory,” because it succeeded in leading a significant public process, preventing its rival, the Palestinian Authority (PA), from placing additional sanctions on the Gaza Strip, and proving that it is the most significant political body in the field, despite 11 years of a proven failure to govern. It could glorify itself with about a hundred Palestinian casualties, if not more, hundreds of wounded and a sense among Palestinians that cunning on their part could draw media attention, even though the world has grown weary of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the internal Palestinian one. 

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