Gazans prepare for violent culmination of mass border protests
Hamas, Gaza residents make final preparations for Monday and Tuesday's mass protests on the Gaza border, with an attempted mass breach mind; Hamas militants seen dismantling military posts to allow protesters better access to border fence; Haniyeh to meet with Egypt intelligence chief and return on time for the protest; Gaza hospitals prepare for mass-casualty incident; Hamas scare videos warn Israelis 'We'll break through the border and reach all the way to your communities, and we will not die alone.'
Hamas, Gaza residents and emergency services are making preparations ahead of two days of mass demonstrations on the border protesting against the US Embassy move to Jerusalem and marking Nakba Day, with Hamas militants ordered to dismantles some of the terror organization's positions on the Gaza border in order to provide protesters with more convenient access to the border fence for an expected attempt at a mass breach.
A video published by the IDF Spokesperson's Unit showed that Hamas operatives are scrambling to dismantle the positions.
This "proves that Hamas is removing the restraints and is acting openly in order to intensify the violations of the riot," the IDF Spokesperson's Unit said in a statement.
Hamas has also increased its propaganda and scare tactics in an effort to bring the masses to the border fence on Monday and Tuesday.
In a video in Hebrew, Israelis living near the Gaza border are warned: "don't stay, the Palestinians are swarming unrestrained, and we recommend you leave without hesitation."
The video, which is accompanied by dramatic music, adds: "Kites are the tip of the iceberg. Those who stay will bear the full consequences. You've been warned. We'll break through the border and reach all the way to your communities, and we will not die alone."
Protesters are also planning to carry out an exhibit in the form of a convoy of trucks carrying Palestinian refugees to the Erez Crossing, with each truck emblazoned with the name of a Palestinian village destroyed on Nakba Day.
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, meanwhile, left Sunday morning for a quick visit to Cairo accompanied by two Hamas officials, Khalil al-Hayya and Ruhi Mushtaq, for a meeting with the Egyptian intelligence chief Abbas Kamel to discuss the risk of escalation between Israel and the Gaza Strip if Palestinian rioters succeed in breaching the border fence. He is stated to return on time for the mass protests.
The Hamas consultations in Egypt are part of an effort by several international elements to prevent the protests on Monday and Tuesday from escalating further. These international elements seek to allow the masses to protest at the border, but at the same time demand Hamas to not allow a mass charge at the fence in an effort to breach it.
The leadership of the Palestinian Authority will convene this evening in Ramallah to discuss the opening ceremony of the American embassy.
The Palestinians plan protests in numerous spots along the border, and not just in the five protest encampments set up ahead of the campaign. Hamas will try to cross the 100,000 protesters mark, something it has yet to achieve over the past six weeks.
In the West Bank and east Jerusalem, demonstrations are planned near the Green Line.
Israeli Air Force planes dropped warning leaflets into the Gaza Strip warning civilians against attempting to approach or sabotage the fence.
One such leaflet read: "Recently, Hamas has been waging violent and terrorist activities against the State of Israel along the border. Hamas hides its many failures and endangers your lives. At this time Hamas is stealing your money and is using it to dig tunnels at your expense. You deserve a better government and a better future. Do not go near the fence and do not participate in a Hamas show that endangers you."
Emergency and rescue services in Gaza are preparing for a mass-casualty incident. Dar Al-Shifa Hospital, the largest medical complex and central hospital in the Gaza Strip, set up a field hospital in large tents near the border in order to prepare for mass absorption of casualties in demonstrations tomorrow.
Sami Obeid, an analyst for Gaza's Al-Manar radio station, said the demonstrations in the coming days are planned to be the biggest yet.
"All the residents of Gaza, children, women and adults are coming to the border fence," Obeid told Ynet, saying protesters all have "one goal" in coming there: "to lift the fence."
"We have been in jail for 12 years, which the Israeli government has imposed on the residents of Gaza," he elaborated. "There is no food, no water, no life, nothing. Even if a million people die, we will come to the fence."
Obeid stressed the feeling of imprisonment and hopelessness is shared by all residents of Gaza, not just by supporters of Hamas.
He then directly addressed IDF soldiers stationed at the border, imploring them not to "kill our children."
"I am there at the border every day and I see how the children get shot in their legs. In the end we will have a generation of paraplegics," he lamented. "This is the responsibility of the Israeli government and the people of Israel.
"We do not come with guns; we want to lift the blockade."
54 Palestinians have so far been killed in the weekly "March of Return" protests, which saw rioters burning tires, flying incendiary kites into Israel and throwing explosives at the border. Israel said about 20 percent of them had no connection to the Hamas terror organization.
Tens of millions of shekels in property damage has been caused to Israeli infrastructure near the border meant to supply Gaza with fuel and construction materials after rioters set it ablaze.
Israel has warned it will not allow anyone to breach the border, fearing infiltration of terrorists that will endanger the lives of Israeli residents leaving in the Gaza vicinity.
Elior Levy, Attila Somfalvi, Alexandra Lukash, Yoav Zitun and Itay Blumenthal contributed to this report.