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IDF general warns Palestinians in Gaza not to test Israel's patience

Brig. Gen. (res.) Kamil Abu Rokon, current head of the Defense Ministry's Border Crossing Authority, named Israel's next military liaison to the Palestinians on December 17, 2017
Dana Shraga/Defense Ministry

The Israeli military said on Thursday that a zero tolerance policy will be adopted on Friday toward Gaza border violence, while warning the Palestinian residents of the Strip that Hamas is leading them "into the abyss."

“Our patience has run out and we will respond severely” Maj. Gen. Kamil Abu Rokon warned in a message in Arabic on Facebook.

Rokon's warning came ahead of yet another planned protests due to take place on the Gaza border on Friday , which the protesters said was a way “to thank the resistance” for fighting Israel.

On a weekly basis since March 30, Palestinian demonstrators have clashed with the Israeli military on the Gaza border.

At least 227 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire, the majority shot during protests and clashes, since the demonstrations began, while others died in tank fire or air strikes. 50 of those have been identified as members of Hamas.

Maj. Gen. Rokon reiterated Israel’s position on the Gaza protests, which is that Hamas orchestrates the border violence.

Israel is “well aware that these actions are not spontaneous, and that the Hamas terror group is the mastermind, managing and leading these activities,” he said.

“We will not show restraint and will not take lightly anyone who violates the following rules: Anyone who approaches within 100 meters of the fence, destroys, tries to cross, or damage the fence will put himself at risk,” Rokon added.

MAHMUD HAMS (AFP)

Throughout the weekly protests, Palestinians have launched explosive balloons from Gaza towards Israel, causing great damage to fields adjacent to the border.

“Anyone who launches explosive balloons or throws improvised explosive devices, grenades and Molotov cocktails, will put himself at risk,” Rokon stressed in his Facebook message.

The Maj. Gen also urged the Palestinians of Gaza to wake up and realize that Hamas is “leading you into the abyss. Understand this before it is too late. You have been warned.”

On Tuesday, Palestinian militant groups in the Gaza Strip announced an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire with Israel after a severe escalation of violence threatened to descend into full-blown war.

The groups, including Hamas, issued a joint statement saying they would abide by the ceasefire as long as Israel did the same.

While the ceasefire was being celebrated in Gaza as a sign of victory, Israelis living in cities near the border demonstrated against the government’s failure to deter Hamas and Islamic Jihad from firing rockets towards them.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was also criticized by opposition lawmakers who declared his failure to protect Israeli civilians from terrorism.

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Hamas will continue. They want a bloody war. IL needs to be smart.

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