JERUSALEM, Israel – The leaders of Hamas hope to make Israel look like the biblical Goliath during what they're calling "peaceful" border protests. But critics say the attempted border infiltration is part of a larger war against the Jewish state. Unfortunately, the terror group has plenty of helpers in that war.
Last week, 18 Palestinians died when Hamas operatives and their supporters ignored warnings by Israel and charged the border with the Gaza Strip.
Former director of the Counterterrorism Bureau at the Prime Minister's Office, Brig. Gen. (ret.) Nitzan Nuriel said, "Unfortunately it's going to be another bloody weekend."
"We are trying to send a message you can demonstrate as much as you can. You cannot touch the [security] fence. You cannot destroy the fence. And obviously you cannot penetrate into the State of Israel," he said during a teleconferencing call Thursday morning.
The rules are very clear, Nuriel said, and Israel has to draw red lines.
"Only when we don't have any other choice, we use snipers to prevent them from achieving what they want to achieve."
The IDF identified 10 of last Friday's fatalities as known terrorists who opened fire, threw Molotov cocktails and other explosive devices at IDF soldiers.
This week, young Gazans are collecting thousands of tires to burn. They know Israel plans to use live fire to protect the border and the goal is to engulf the area in smoke and flames to obscure the soldiers' vision.
But why would they risk their own lives when they have no chance of physically taking back the Arab villages lost in the 1948 War of Independence against Israel?
Itamar Marcus, director of the Palestinian Media Watch, told CBN News Hamas wants people to be killed.
"Tragically, what they have learned is that dead Palestinians make for good PR for the Palestinian Authority and for Hamas. And that's what this is all about. They want Israel to be forced to fire. They want their people to cross the border into Israel to threaten Israelis and to be shot and killed because that is what wins the war for them," Marcus explained.
Hamas couldn't pose such a threat to Israel without help. So who is helping them? Middle East analysts say look first to Turkey and Iran.
"There are Turkish organizations that collect money for Hamas," Prof. Efraim Inbar with the Jerusalem Institute for Strategic Studies told CBN News. "We know that the Iranians are also sending money in suitcases, millions of dollars, in order to help Hamas survive a difficult economic period."
Inbar says Turkey has a Sunni connection with Hamas, which was founded by the Muslim Brotherhood. Shiite Iran also uses Hamas as a Sunni beachhead against Israel.
"The Iranians and the Turks understand the military power of Israel and they understand that Hamas cannot overcome this military power, only by a strategy of attrition," he said. "They want the Israelis to get tired and the dream is Israelis will leave their country."
The Palestinians also hope to charge Israeli leaders with war crimes at the International Criminal Court at The Hague. They are backed by the Arab League in that effort.
Marcus says the Palestinians have another helper: international media outlets who don't report that Hamas is a terror group committed to Israel's destruction. And he draws an interesting parallel between US President Trump's decision to send troops to the Mexican border and Israel's clash with Hamas.
"Now it's significant here that the Mexicans are going to be facing national guardsmen, they're not coming to commit terror," Marcus said. "They're just coming to get a job to get a better life. The ones coming in from Gaza facing Israeli soldiers, they're coming in to commit terror; they're saying, "We want your country" – the so-called March of Return.