As part of the fourth week of Hamas-led protests on Friday, Gazans few large kites carrying firebombs over the border into Israel. One kite bomb set ablaze a warehouse in southern Israel on Saturday causing heavy damage. Another kite carrying a firebomb was decorated to honor Adolf Hitler’s birthday which coincided with Friday’s Hamas event.
Last Tuesday, a kite bomb from Gaza set fire to 25 acres of grassland inside Israel. Times of Israelnoted the irony in the new style of attacks, recalling that, “last month, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) organized a “Kites of Hope” festival for over 1,000 Gazan schoolchildren from Khan Younis.”
The IDF responded to the protests with tear gas and rubber bullets, resorting to live-fire when Gazans threatened to cross the border fence. Four Palestinians were killed in clashes with the IDF. Palestinian sources claim a total of 39 Palestinians have been killed during the protests. This number has not been verified by any other source. Many of those killed have been identified as members of Hamas’ military wing or of Ismaic Jihad.
Power is the ability to influence others to get what you want. In the past, there was only “hard power”– getting what you want by using or threatening to use force or sanctions, or inducing compliance with rewards. When the Cold War ended, Harvard professor Joseph Nye, Jr. coined the term “soft power,” defined as getting what you want by attracting and persuading people through values, policies, institutions, and culture.
The next step in the power theory evolution was “smart power,” a combination of hard and soft power, where each reinforces the other. Social media inspired the creation of a new term, “collaborative power,” a bottom-up process of getting what you want by mobilizing and connecting global communities around a cause.
The principal goal of sharp power isn’t a bona fide dialogue between rivals on international issues. Instead, it exploits and abuses freedom of expression, freedom of the press, and sensitivities to human rights abuses in order to undermine, subvert, and destabilize Western liberal democracies.
In such an effort, people and organizations in authoritarian regimes, in official and non-official capacities, assume fake identities and disseminate lies to achieve their political goals. They especially target the media, international organizations, and human rights organizations. These despicable practices are frequently undertaken by authoritarian non-state actors, such as terrorist organizations.
Hamas has been using sharp power against Israel since it violently took over Gaza in 2007 and established a ruthless Islamic theocracy there. The US, the EU, Canada, Australia, and other countries designated Hamas as a radical Islamic terrorist organization.
Hamas presented the “March of Return” as an innocent and peaceful demonstration initiated by suffering citizens to protest their awful economic and social conditions. Hamas also accused Israel of committing war crimes by intentionally shooting and killing demonstrators. The truth is exactly the opposite, and Hamas’ claims are false and misleading.
The march was initiated and organized by Hamas, not by oppressed citizens. Hamas invested millions of dollars in building an infrastructure for the demonstrators, and called for the breaking of the border fence and infiltration into Israeli territory. If Hamas had been permitted to accomplish this goal, the life and property of Israeli citizens living a few meters from the fence would have been in danger. These were not peaceful demonstrations.
Hamas deployed operatives among the demonstrators and ordered them to throw firebombs, shoot at Israeli soldiers, put explosives on the fence, cross into Israeli territory, and, if possible, kill or kidnap soldiers and citizens. They sent women and children close to the fence to provoke Israeli soldiers.
They knew that these violent actions might trigger Israeli fire, but that was the point. They wanted as many Palestinians as possible to be killed, including women and children, in order to obtain favorable media coverage, sympathy in world public opinion, denunciation from world leaders, and condemnatory resolutions from UN bodies.
Hamas is also lying and cheating about the reasons for the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. The terror group annually spends hundreds of millions of dollars on operatives, rockets, attack tunnels, and violence. If Hamas had spent that money on economic and social development, Gazans would now live in a better economic environment.
The recent deterioration in the Gazan economy resulted from a bitter feud between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, not from any Israeli action.
Hamas says that it needs weapons because of the Israeli blockade and attacks on Gaza. Not true. In 2005, Israel completely withdrew from Gaza and expected a period of peace-building. Israel imposed a partial siege on Gaza only because Hamas explicitly and repeatedly said that it wished to destroy the Jewish state and constantly used terrorism and violence.
This was the result of Hamas’ aggression and violence, not the other way around. Egypt, which also shares a border with Gaza, also imposed a blockade on Gaza because of Hamas’ collaboration with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and radical Islamic terrorist groups in the Sinai.