This past week the Friday “return march” was again characterized by a high level of violence. Palestinians threw hand grenades and IEDs, launched incendiary balloons and tried to cross the border fence. During the rest of the week violent activities were also carried out.
Palestinian rioters threw IEDs and hand grenades into Israeli territory. An IDF soldier was wounded by an IED that exploded nearby. IDF tanks responded by firing at two Hamas observation posts in the northern Gaza Strip. In addition, a soldier was wounded during the Friday “return march.”
The event illustrate Hamas’ warning that it would raise the level of violence if its demands were not met. In ITIC assessment, behind the rise in violence are Hamas’ disappointments and difficulties: Hamas’ expectations for a fundamental change in the economic situation and the lifting of the siege have not been realized; the recent Egyptian mediation failed; the rift with Fatah and the Palestinian Authority (PA) is widening and there are differences of opinion with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), whose position is more belligerent. So far Hamas continues to regulate the violence but the situation on the ground is more explosive and may deteriorate.