Tags: palestinians | israel | hamas | border fence

Many Palestinians Reject Hamas' Call for Martyrdom

Many Palestinians Reject Hamas' Call for Martyrdom
Israeli soldiers look out at protesters at the border fence with Israel on May 15, 2018, in Gaza City, Gaza. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Thursday, 17 May 2018 02:41 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Palestinians have termed the creation of the State of Israel their "Nakba." Nakba means "catastrophe." Every year, on the Gregorian date marking the creation of the Jewish state, Palestinians join together to mourn. The mourning takes the form of protests. The protests are often accompanied by violence.

The events now taking place along Israel's border, often termed the fence, with Gaza are an outgrowth of Nakba coupled with and compounded by the decision of the United States to dedicate its embassy in Jerusalem. But what we are witnessing can no longer be called either protests or demonstrations.

Protests and demonstrations are expressions of freedom of speech. These are riots, violent and vicious riots. And these riots, each and every one, is controlled and choreographed by Hamas. Given the orders issued by Hamas to those participating in the riots, it is nothing short of a miracle that more Palestinians have not been injured and killed.

Local Gazans know the difference between riots and protests. For proof, look no further than the funerals-cum-protests, for those killed at the border riots. Compare the riots along the border with the funerals of those killed at the riots.

The funerals are indeed protests and demonstrations. They are filled with hate speech and chants — but they are in no way a threat.

At the fence, Palestinians are engaging in simultaneous rioting. There are weekly Friday gatherings held at 5 locations in Gaza. They even have a name. They are called the March of the Return. The name says it all. Palestinians want to return and displace Israelis from all of Israel. This is not about the borders determined by the Six Day War in 1967. This is about the creation of the State of Israel in 1948.

Monday's riots, riots that continue on, were called to commemorate the Georgian date of the establishment of Israel. It was no accident that the United States chose to dedicate their Jerusalem Embassy on May 14.

Hamas organizers did everything in their power — short of arresting those Palestinians who did not attend — to get people to attend the "protests." They wanted numbers, big numbers that would impress the press and capture world's attention. They were hoping to be at least 100,000 strong.

Hamas cancelled classes in all schools and in all universities. They announced a total shutdown of malls and businesses. Thousands of tires were schlepped to prearranged sites to be burned or set aflame and then rolled into the fence.

To streamline the process, Hamas bused participants to and from the riot points. By using buses they freed the roads for ambulances and other emergency vehicles. Injuries and death were part of the Hamas calculus.

But in the end, for Hamas, the numbers were disappointing.

Shutting down schools and calling for a general strike effectively means there is nothing to do. Students should have been streaming to the fence. There was no excuse not to have over a million people on the border between Gaza and Israel — and yet only 40,000 Palestinians showed up. A Massive failure!

The reasons are simple.

Kids prefer to play computer games at home than to go out and riot. This is an axiom of all of today's teenagers and teens in Gaza are no different. They were given off from school and took advantage of the day to play Minecraft or Grand Theft Auto. The honest truth is that Palestinian kids really do not care very much about the issue.

And their parents did not force them to go! And that gives me hope.

Despite the inverted logic of Palestinian leadership that espouses the philosophy that becoming a "shahid," a martyr, is the ultimate goal of every Palestinian child, Palestinian leaders and parents have not succeeded in pushing their children to become martyrs in the name of the cause in great numbers. And masses of children are electing not to attend the organized riots and not to give up their lives for the cause. Virtual electronic gaming is fun, death and injury at the border between Gaza and Israel is not. Death is not attractive to these kids.

Bottom line — numbers do not lie.

Tuesday, the second day of rioting, had as few as 400 people turn out. Hamas commanded more to come to the border and show the world the evils of Israel — but they did not come. True, many Gazans went to the funerals of those who were killed the previous day, but another reason may be that because so many protesters are now dead a palpable feeling of death is spreading through Gaza.

Rhetoric and ideology are compelling motives, but circa May 2018, video games are more fun.

Micah Halpern is a political and foreign affairs commentator. He founded "The Micah Report" and hosts "Thinking Out Loud with Micah Halpern" a weekly TV program and "My Chopp" a daily radio spot. A dynamic speaker, he specializes in analyzing world events and evaluating their relevance and impact. Follow him on Twitter @MicahHalpern. To read more of this reports — Click Here Now.

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Palestinians have termed the creation of the State of Israel their "Nakba." Nakba means "catastrophe." Every year, on the Gregorian date marking the creation of the Jewish state, Palestinians join together to mourn.
palestinians, israel, hamas, border fence
Thursday, 17 May 2018 02:41 PM
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