JERUSALEM, Israel – New facts are emerging about Monday's border conflict that left more than 60 Palestinians dead in confrontations with Israeli troops as they tried to breach the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel.
Much of the international media has accused Israel of killing innocent, unarmed Palestinians protesting in a spontaneous uprising they called the "Great March of Return." But Hamas officials reveal a very different story in their own words.
News coverage of Monday's riots seemed to show one side of the story: an uprising to protest the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem.
But MEMRI, the Middle East Media Research Institute, released a compilation of videos following Monday's confrontations that give a much different perspective.
For example, in an interview on Palestinian television, one Hamas official admitted that 50 of the 62 people killed were Hamas members, a group labeled a terrorist organization by the US State Department.
Gaza "March of Return [Into Israel]" Clips – Calls For Jihad & Martyrdom, Chants Of Anti-Semitic Slogans And Incitement
See here for the long compilation: https://t.co/NzT2DqQORV
And here for the short compilation: https://t.co/1p2EYmdtz1 pic.twitter.com/wRroZklMaz
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) May 16, 2018
Mahmoud al-Zahar, a senior Hamas official, said this on the al Jazeera network:
"This is a clear terminological deception. 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," he admitted.
The videos show members of the tire-burning and wire-cutting units saying their highest aspiration is to die for the sake of Allah, to cut the Zionist enemy's main barbed-wire fence and take it down with "the fingernails of their children.'"
One tribal leader declared that the Palestinian people will liberate its land with blood, women and children.
Israeli UN Ambassador Danny Danon called this a Palestinian cycle of death.
"First, they incite people to violence. Then, they place as many civilians as possible – including women and children – in the line of fire to maximize civilian casualties. Then they blame Israel, and then they come here to complain to the UN," Danon said.
Even a Palestinian Authority official blamed the PA's rival Hamas faction.
"So why are you in Hamas sacrificing children? You are dispatching them to meet with their deaths, facing the soldiers of the occupation (Israel). Seriously? Sending children to be killed or lose a limb while your leaders are having a good time?"
More demonstrations are planned and tragically more children may die or lose limbs and be crippled for life.
Hamas Leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar: Our People Took Off Their Military Uniforms and Joined the Marches; We Decided to Turn the Bodies of Our Women and Children into a Dam Blocking Arab Collapse https://t.co/2OUgrFwd6d
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) May 17, 2018