Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist organizations decided to cancel Friday's weekly violent protests on the Israel-Gaza border to avoid an escalation with Israel.
Palestinian terrorist factions leading the National Committee for the March of Return made the decision to delay Friday's demonstrations out "concern for our people" and to plan for larger protests commemorating Land Day at the end of the month.
The decision came shortly after Palestinian terrorists fired two missiles at Tel Aviv Thursday evening. In response, Israel's armed forces struck 100 Hamas targets in Gaza, including an underground missile factory, a military training site, and a naval commando base. Terrorists fired at least nine rockets Friday on Israeli towns bordering Gaza in response.
Hamas denied responsibility for the initial rocket launches. While the Israel Defense Forces assesses that low-level militants may have accidentally launched the rockets, Israel holds Hamas responsible for all terrorist activity emanating from Gaza. A Hamas official told The Times of Israel that the terrorist organization "has no interest in an escalation" with Israel.
This decision marks the first time Hamas canceled the weekly event since violent riots and protests started on March 30, 2018. It confirms that Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups are the main drivers behind the violent riots, even though some international media outlets continue to frame the events as popular and peaceful protests.
The decision to cancel today's protests shows that Hamas is not prepared for an all-out confrontation with Israel but is fully in control of the violent border situation.
Last month, Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist organizations threatened to ramp up violent protests on the Israel-Gaza border to force more Israeli concessions. Hamas officials also threatened to attack Israelis in direct operations on the border, including infiltrations into Israel.
Palestinian terrorist groups have relied on these methods to attack Israelis and cause significant economic damage. Sporadic incendiary kites and balloons continue to land on Israeli territory. During the past year, these devices sparked destructive fires that burned thousands of acres of crops and natural forest area.
The border violence and most recent threats are meant to coerce Israel into adhering to Hamas' demands, including open border crossings and financial transfers.
The vast majority of Palestinians killed in response to weekly violent protests on the Israel-Gaza border are affiliated with Hamas and other terrorist groups.