The weekly Gaza border riots will not end on May 15th, the day the Arabs mark as ‘Nakba’ or “Catastrophe” in Arabic (Israel’s rebirth as a state), but will continue through Ramadan, Hamas political bureau chief Ismail Haniyeh said Wednesday.
Attending a meeting of religious clerics ahead of the month-long fast of Ramadan which begins May 16, Haniyeh said the protests would not end as originally planned, as they have ‘strategic goals’ but did not specify what those were.
Since the protests began on March 30th, at least 36 of the so-called “protesters” have been killed by IDF gunfire, and hundreds more wounded.
A report published this month by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center found that at least 26 of those killed were actively involved with terrorist groups; a significant number were members of the Izz a-Din al-Qassam military wing of Gaza’s ruling Hamas terror organization..
The events at the Gaza border “brought the Palestinian issue back to center stage, and revived the memory of the right of return,” Haniyeh said. He claimed the demonstrations would also have the effect of spoiling the Israeli celebrations marking the move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem on May 14, as well as the Jerusalem Day celebrations on the day prior (May 13), marking Israel’s victory in the 1967 Six Day War.
Haniyeh added that the demonstrations would no longer be limited to the Gaza border, but are to be expanded and spread throughout Judea and Samaria.
Yona Schnitzer and Tazpit Press Service contributed content to this article.