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Tough Israeli Rules of Engagement in Place for Friday’s Gaza Confrontation

Israel’s military is making certain that its rules of engagement for Friday’s mass march along the Gaza-Israel border are clear: anyone attempting to cross the fence into Israel will be shot. On the Gaza side, its Hamas rulers are reportedly hard at work in building the ranks of those who will participate in the so-called “March of Return” despite clear indications that it’s not something the masses want to join. The event refers to those who left their homes when Israel became a state in 1948 and whose families seek repatriation and restoration of their properties’ ownership. Reports from Gaza that women, children and senior citizens are being cajoled into marching is raising some concerns fanned by word that Hamas will try to achieve some form of penetration of the border which could trigger a major melee with multiple casualties. If marchers stick to the established route, about one-half mile will separate them from the border. The organizers have even issued public warnings to stay away from the border. But other intelligence indicating planned attempts to infiltrate into Israel and Israel’s well-published rules of engagement and revelation that at least one hundred snipers will have their sights on the border are adding to the tension as are five infiltration attempts in five days. The last one occurred on Thursday morning when two Palestinian men entered Israel but were immediately apprehended. Four other incidents took place on the four preceding days. In three of the five incidents, the infiltrators carried explosives or weapons.