Israeli Security Forces Preparing For Potential Major Confrontation On Jewish Holiday Of Passover
Israeli security forces are gearing up for a Palestinian “day of rage” on March 30, the eve of the Jewish festival of Passover, when tens of thousands of people are expected to storm border fences with Israel as part of a “Mass March of Return.” Passover this year coincides with what has been coined “Land Day,” which commemorates an Israeli move in 1976 to expropriate property in the Galilee—a decision that sparked widespread riots that resulted in the deaths of six Arab-Israelis and which has since been marked each year with demonstrations. Another protest is planned for May 15, when Palestinians mark the so-called Nakba, the Arabic word for “catastrophe” used to describe the creation of Israel in 1948. IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot is scheduled to meet senior officers this week to review plans that aim to strike a balance between preventing breaches of the security barriers and averting casualties. The potential for a major confrontation comes amid already heightened tensions in the wake of the murder of Adiel Kolman, who was stabbed to death by a Palestinian in the Old City of Jerusalem on Sunday. That, in turn, followed the killing some 48 hours earlier of two Israeli soldiers in a car-ramming in the West Bank, as Palestinians rioted to mark 100 days since U.S. President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. As regards the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces over the weekend conducted several retaliatory strikes against Hamas assets, including destroying two subterranean tunnels, one of which stretched into Israeli territory; this, after an explosive device was detonated along the border, the fourth time over the past month that a bomb was set off near the frontier. According to reports, some 200 “lone wolf attacks” have been thwarted in the Palestinian territories over the past two months alone, a worrying development that has Israeli forces on high alert.