A senior Hamas official signalled support Thursday for thousands of Palestinians to breach the border fence from Gaza into Israel at protests to coincide with next week’s US embassy move to Jerusalem.
In his first major briefing to international media since becoming Gaza head of the Islamist group in 2017, Yahya Sinwar implied he would like to see thousands of Palestinians crossing into Israel as part of more than a month of protests.
Asked what he wanted to see from protests on Monday and Tuesday, Sinwar pointed out Israel has never specifically defined its borders.
“What’s the problem with hundreds of thousands breaking through a fence that is not a border?”
Sinwar said he hoped Israel would not shoot at what he called “peaceful” protests.
Fifty-two Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since protests and clashes began on March 30 calling for Palestinian refugees to be able to return to their former homes in what is now Israel.
The majority of those killed were shot during protests and clashes near the border.
No Israelis have been hurt, though protesters have thrown stones and rolled burning tyres towards soldiers along the border.
Israel says there have also been infiltration attempts.
Sinwar said the lack of Israelis hurt was evidence the protests were peaceful.
But he warned the protests risked spiralling out of control, blaming Israel for imposing a blockade on the strip and its two million residents since Hamas took control in 2007.
Israel says the restrictions are necessary to restrict Hamas, with whom it has fought three wars since 2008.
Click here to read more.