A Hamas leader admitted his terrorist organization orchestrated the weekly “March of Return” violent demonstrations on the Israel-Gaza border to divert attention from internal problems.
The Investigative Project on Terrorism noted a YNet news report citing Hamas leader Yayha Sinwar.
“After the reconciliation efforts (between Hamas and Fatah) reached an impasse, a number of factions planned to cause an internal explosion in the Gaza Strip, but the Marches of Return thwarted the plan,” Sinwar said during a conference Tuesday in the Gaza Strip.
“Gaza did not want to stand idly by when the American Embassy was transferred to Jerusalem,” Sinwar said, adding that “the Palestinian people succeeded in turning this provocation into an opportunity to confront the Israeli enemy.”
Palestinian protesters helped “create a means of pressure, like the incendiary balloons,” he said.
Other Hamas officials have acknowledged Hamas’s role in planning and promoting violent protests on Israel’s border, IPT noted, with 93 of the 112 reported Palestinian fatalities identified as operatives of Hamas or other terrorist groups.
Hamas leader: ‘not peaceful resistance’
Members of the United Nations accused Israel of not using restraint May 14 as Palestinians, armed with guns and knives, incendiary kites, burning tires and other weapons rioted at the border. Hamas appealed to the world, claiming Israeli forces killed 62 Palestinians. But a Hamas senior official confessed in a television interview that some 50 of the 62 people who died Monday and Tuesday were Hamas members.
Senior Hamas official Mahmoud Al-Zahhar acknowledged in a May 13 interview that the Gaza demonstrations were “not peaceful resistance.”
He said Hamas’s efforts at the border are “bolstered by a military force and by security agencies.”
“This is a clear terminological deception [i.e. “peaceful resistance”] … This is not peaceful resistance … so when we talk about ‘peaceful resistance,’ we are deceiving the public,” Al-Zahhar said.
A captured Hamas member said on a video released by Israel Defense Forces: “Hamas is the one that sends us Facebook and text messages telling us to go and in the mosques they call and send fliers that tell us to go to the fence.
“They control the Gaza Strip, and everything that happens there goes through them.”
He said Hamas “organizes these riots so that the people won’t revolt.”
“Hamas tell themselves, instead of having people revolt and turn against us, we’ll send them to the fence and let them ‘revolt’ there freely,” he said.
The man explained that when electricity is functioning in the Gaza Strip, Hamas dispatches messages telling citizens to go to the fence and riot, organizing transportation.
He said Hamas instructs women and children to move close to the border fence, assuring them that the Israel Defense Forces soldiers do not shoot women and children.
Hamas, he continued, has “established a committee that is responsible for the march, and for telling people to go.”
However, he said, “people wear out and get fed up, and I am one of these people.”
Dozens of social media posts called for Palestinians to bring guns and knives to the protest, knock down the border fence, kidnap Israeli civilians and hand them over to Hamas.
A spokesman for the IDF said Hamas deployed 12 separate terrorist cells to try to breach the border at different locations.
Award-winning French filmmaker Pierre Rehov produced a short movie called “Behind the Smoke Screen” featuring exclusive footage from inside the Gaza Strip exposing the propaganda tactics of Hamas aimed at changing the international perception of the six-week protest dubbed the “Great March of Return.”
In a sequel called “The Great Deception,” he juxtaposed U.N. condemnations of Israel for using force when its border was breached May 14 with footage of violent protests and Hamas propaganda.
See Pierre Rehov’s two-part documentary “Behind the Smokescreen” and “The Great Deception”: