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The ‘Great Return March’ Campaign: An Initiative Sponsored By Hamas to Invade Israel and Kill Jews

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Hamas is far more honest than the mainstream media. Salah Bardawil, the Hamas operative who admitted that most of the “peaceful protesters” killed at the Gaza border were actually Hamas operatives, gave away the whole game: the “Great Return March” isn’t a peaceful protest, it’s a violent jihad initiative. Of course, the mainstream media happily retails this jihad propaganda.

The presentation of the protesters as peaceful is just the latest in a long line of “Palestinian” fakery. It isn’t just Hamas, either: Abbas’ faction has also been manufacturing “Palestinian” victimhood propaganda for years, faking atrocities by the IDF. And it works: the fake killing of Mohammed al-Dura by the IDF touched off the second intifada. And that was just one fakery among very many. The “Palestinians” fake atrocities with willing help from the mainstream media.

“The ‘Great Return March’ Campaign: An Initiative Sponsored By Hamas, Whose Goal Was To Breach The Border Fence, Penetrate Israeli Territory,” MEMRI, May 18, 2018:

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An examination of statements coming out of Gaza about the “Great Return March” campaign, by Hamas officials, by campaign organizers, and by participants and supporters of the campaign, reveal that it was not  merely a popular civilian campaign but was fully supported by Hamas, and that its goal was to breach the border fence in order to penetrate Israeli territory and march on Israeli communities. Since it began, on Land Day (March 30, 2018), Hamas officials have paid visits to the camps along the border where the marchers congregate, to express their support and encouragement. Hamas officials noted that movement members had participated in the marches and that they comprised the majority of fatalities. Mahmoud Al-Zahhar even emphasized that the march was not a form of peaceful resistance.

Organizers of the campaign, such as Ahmad Abu Ratima, one of its prominent spokesmen, noted on more than one occasion that the goal of the march was to breach the border and advance on Israeli communities in the area, even at the cost of Palestinian lives. Throughout the campaign, Gazan social media users posted maps showing the routes and the distances from parts of the Gaza Strip to the Israeli Gaza Border communities.  Reports mentioned that special units had been established for the purpose of penetrating Israeli territory, such as the Fence-Cutting Unit and the Border-Storming Unit. Although the campaign organizers stressed that  the marches would be peaceful, some Gazan social media users called to fight the “infidels” in these communities and to murder them.

This report reviews statements by Gazans regarding the character and goals of the Great Return March campaign.

Hamas Officials: 50 Of The Fatalities Were Hamas Members; This Is Not Peaceful Resistance

Hamas officials have admitted on several occasions that the movement took an active part in the marches. Hamas leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar said that movement members “took off their military uniforms and put their weapons aside. They temporarily abandoned the means of armed struggle” and joined the marches.[1] Hamas political bureau member Saleh Bardawil said that, of the 62 people killed in clashes along the Gaza border on May 14, fifty were movement members.[2] Hamas official Mahmoud Al-Zahhar said that calling the campaign “peaceful resistance” was to “deceive the public”. He said: “When you are in possession of weapons that were able to withstand the occupation in the wars of 2006, 2008, 2012, and 2014… When you have weapons that are being wielded by men who were able to prevent the strongest army in the region from entering the Gaza Strip for 51 days, and were able to capture or kill soldiers of that army – is this really ‘peaceful resistance’? This is not peaceful resistance. Has the option [of armed struggle] diminished? No. On the contrary, it is growing and developing. That’s clear. So when we talk about ‘peaceful resistance,’ we are deceiving the public. This is a peaceful resistance bolstered by a military force and by security agencies, and enjoying tremendous popular support. As for [Fatah’s] ‘peaceful resistance,’ it consists of rallies, demonstrations, protests, pleas, and requests, in order to improve the terms of the negotiations, or to enable talks with the Israeli enemy. This deception does not fool the Palestinian public.”[3]

Campaign Organizer Ahmad Abu Ratima: The Goal Is To Breach The Border, Even At The Cost Of Lives; We Can Reach Sderot In Ten Minutes

Activist Ahmad Abu Ratima, one of the organizers and spokesman of the Return March campaign, explicitly wrote on his Facebook page about the plan for a mass infiltration, first of the Israeli communities outside the Gaza border and then into the depth of Israel, even at the cost of Palestinian lives: “If the Gazan Palestinians manage to recruit 100,000 non-violent protesters, and the other areas manage to recruit tens of thousands, the occupation will be hard put to deal with these mass marches. Even if some people are killed during the actual breaching [of the border]… but thanks to [their sacrifice] the Palestinians manage to cross the separation fence and reach their land that was occupied in 1948, it will be a reasonable price to pay. Thousands of victims have fallen in the wars without [achieving] any political results… This time, deaths will be justified and will be for the sake of making a significant national achievement.”[4]

According to the Al-Quds Al-Arabi daily, Abu Ratima wrote on the Return March Whatsapp group that the breaching of the border “will be especially painful for the occupation and will have significant international resonance,” and added: “Within ten minutes, all the returning [marchers] will be in the very heart of the settlement of Sderot, and then the weapons of the occupation will be completely useless. The [Palestinian] processions will blend with the settlers in the heart of our occupied cities… This will be a deadly blow to the occupier, and he will no doubt succumb.”

TheAl-Quds Al-Arabi article mentioned Palestinian attempts to breach the border fence, writing: “In the past few days, the plan to breach the Gaza [border] fence as part of ‘Day of Advance’ has met with some success, when youths managed to breach the border at several points after cutting through the barbed wire.”[5]

Poster captioned “May 14, 2018: [Border] Breach Day” (source: twitter.com/LayalZaqout 6, May 13, 2018)

On May 13, ahead of the demonstrations planned for Nakba Day (May 14) – dubbed “[Border] Breach Day” on social media – the official Facebook page of Great Return March posted a message saying: “Urgent advice for [Border] Breach Day: Always remember that our marches are non-violent and use only non-violent means. The returning [marchers] must enter [the Israeli territories] in large groups numbering dozens, hundreds or even thousands, and surprise the [Israeli] soldiers by coming from unexpected [directions]. They must make sure to remain in large groups, numbering thousands, and reach the nearest inhabited location inside our occupied 1948 territories. [Once] there, they must stage a sit-in among the Israeli residents. Be careful not to return to Gaza after successfully breaching [the border], and not to disperse, so as to prevent the occupation soldiers from confronting single people… The presence of the returning marchers in inhabited locations will detract from the occupation soldiers’ ability to harm you, and will provide you with [a source of] food and water. Bulldozers must  come and remove the barbed wire the minute the millions [cross the border] and stream [into Israel]. All residents of Gaza must come out and join the returning [marchers].

“Be careful not to cause damage or kill soldiers or Israelis, so as not to provide [them] with an excuse for [committing] acts of massacre…”[6]

It should be noted that Dr. ‘Issam ‘Adwan, the head of Hamas’s refugee department, tweeted on February 10, 2018, several weeks before the start of the Great Return March campaign: “I call on the residents of my village, Barbara,[7] to put their affairs in order in preparation for returning to Barbara in the next few weeks. #GreatReturnMarch.”[8]

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