Low Turnout in Quds Day Gaza Riots
The June 8 riots at the Israel-Gaza border were expected to be particularly violent given that June 8 is Quds Day, when Iran celebrates the Palestinian cause. However, turnout was low, prompting the Israel Defense Forces to declare that the protests “failed.”
Approximately 10,000 people attended the Hamas-led riots, when 40,000 people were expected to attend. About 25% of those 10,000 people engaged in clashes at the border fence, most of whom were men.
Those who engaged in violence threw burning tires, kite and balloons as well as grenades at Israeli soldiers and at Israeli territory. An IDF military post was hit by gunfire, although nobody was injured. A total of four Palestinians were killed and over 600 more were injured, according to Hamas’ Gaza Health Ministry.
And yet, the IDF was expecting the violence to be far worse due to Quds Day.
“The determination and professionalism of IDF soldiers on the Gaza border are proving themselves,” Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman tweeted. “Despite the great efforts of Hamas and Iran, less and less terrorists are coming to our border.”
IDF Maj. Gen. Kamil Abu Rokon proclaimed on Facebook that Hamas had “failed twice.”
“First by investing money in terrorism rather than in caring for the needs of the population, and then again through Gazans’ reluctance to join the marches,” Rokon wrote.
The violence at the Gaza border has been ongoing since March under the guise of the Palestinians’ “Right to Return” to Israel; in actuality Hamas is attempting to breach the border fence with the hope of launching terror attacks against Israelis.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently defended the IDF’s handling of the violence at the Gaza border.
“When I talk with European leaders, I always say ‘What would you do?’” Netanyahu said in London. “The last thing we want is any violence, or casualties.”