Hamas sends young children to border, arrested Gazan tells IDF
MAHMUD HAMS (AFP)
A Palestinian man who had been arrested by the Israeli security forces attempting to infiltrate the Gaza border revealed during an interrogation, that Hamas urged women and young children to go to the frontline during the recent succession of protests.
“They [Hamas] tell women to go forward [the frontline of the riots]: ‘you are a woman, go forward, the army does not shoot women.’” the suspect said, whose face had been blurred out in the video.
“They tell young children to go forward: ‘the army [IDF] does not shoot young children.’ They tell the child to go forward and he does. They trick him,” he continued.
Israel has accused the Islamic militant group of deliberately putting children in the line of fire amid international outcry over the Israeli army’s killing of dozens of Palestinians along the Gaza border.
#IDF video features a man described as a Palestinian rioter who was arrested after crossing the #Gaza border fence, as he tells of #Hamas' efforts to push protesters to endanger their lives @i24NEWS_EN pic.twitter.com/7u4yn8Bbd0— Shai Ben-ari (@ShaiBenari) May 16, 2018
“They (Hamas) are pushing civilians -- women, children -- into the line of fire with a view of getting casualties,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told CBS network, claiming the army had tried to minimize the casualties. “These things are avoidable. If Hamas had not pushed them there nothing would happen. Hamas holds responsibility for doing this and they’re doing it deliberately.”
“Hamas is the one that sends us Facebook and text messages telling us to go...and in the mosques they call and send flyers that tell us to go to the fence,” the captured protester continued in the video. “When there is electricity, the televisions are on and streaming: ‘Great March of Return’, march, march...go, march and riot.”
Israel has repeatedly claimed that Hamas hijacks demonstrations to carry out acts of terror and attempted to infiltrate into Israel and Netanyahu has vehemently declared Israel’s right to defend its border in the face of aggression.
On Tuesday, a day marked by Palestinians as ‘Nakba Day’ (translated from Arabic as ‘The Catastrophe’), two protesters were shot and several breached the security fence and crossed into Israeli territory. The individual shown in the IDF video, was one of those taken into custody.
Mondays protests, that coincided with the US’s highly-contested Jerusalem embassy move, was described as the bloodiest day in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since the 2014 Gaza War. The Palestinian health ministry reported that 60 Palestinians were killed by IDF forces, with more than 2,400 injured.
The dead included eight children under the age of 16, according to the Palestinian envoy to the United Nations.
A top Hamas official said on Wednesday that 50 members of the group were among the 60 killed in Monday's clashes.
The US, as well as Australia, has also placed the blame for the bloodshed with Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip and does not recognize Israel's right to exist.
Speaking at the UN on Tuesday, US Ambassador Nikki Haley said Hamas would have been "pleased with the results from yesterday.” She told the Security council that, "the Hamas terrorist organization has been inciting violence for years, long before the United States decided to move our embassy.”
-- Dire humanitarian situation --
“Hamas organizes these riots so that the people won’t revolt,” the Gazan protester said in the video. “Hamas tells themselves, ‘instead of having people revolt and turn against us, we’ll send them to the fence and let them ‘revolt’ there freely.’”
The Gaza Strip is said to be on the brink of a massive humanitarian crisis. Constant fuel shortages, insufficient infrastructure, limited access to clean drinking water and no sanitary conditions, have left the 1.8 million residents in the coastal enclave in distress.
Israeli security officials have claimed that it is in Hamas’s interests to redirect the citizens frustrations towards Israeli soldiers in order to stave of steeping responsibility on the militant group.
Ahead of then Monday protests, the Israeli Air Force began dropping leaflets in the coastal enclave on Sunday urging Palestinians to not “take part in Hamas’ show, which endangers you.”
“People wear out and get fed up and I am one of these people,” the Gazan concluded in the video.
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