Nakba Day Protests Starting Monday Will Be Most Violent to Date, IDF Official Warns

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A demonstrator moves a burning tire during clashes with Israeli forces along the border with the Gaza strip east of Khan Yunis on May 11, 2018
A demonstrator moves a burning tire during clashes with Israeli forces along the border with the Gaza strip east of Khan Yunis on May 11, 2018Credit: SAID KHATIB/AFP

Palestinian protests set to begin on May 14 in response to the U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem and commemorating Nakba Day are expected to be far more violent and extensive than anything seen thus far, according to Israeli security officials. Israel Defense Forces have begun reinforcing battalions exponentially in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank in the lead up to Monday's expected clashes.

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Palestinians from the West Bank and East Jerusalem, who have remained relatively passive during the "March of Return" protests taking place along the Gaza border, are expected to participate in demonstrations with far more flashpoints expected to erupt on Monday. This is due to the national nature of Nakba Day, and what the American embassy move symbolizes for the Palestinians.

A Southern Command official claimed that Hamas is using the protest as a test for themselves regarding how many protesters they can rally, as well as the degree of aggression they will enact against Israeli soldiers. The army is concerned that Hamas will attempt a massive rush and breach of the fence, in which they will attempt to abduct Israeli soldiers, throw grenades and place charges.

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According to assessments, 100,000 protesters are expected in 17 flashpoints along the Gaza border, compared to the five flashpoints during last Friday's protest.

The IDF will attempt to stop protesters further away from the fence than established in recent weeks, hoping to discourage advancement past the tent area located 300 meters of the fence. The IDF has been using drones to shoot down burning kites directed at Israel, a successful method thus far.

Israeli security officials believe that Hamas is in a difficult position concerning the citizens' frustration, which they have been able to channel so far at Israeli soldiers. Official assess that a failure to achieve results which will ease the Gazans plight will turn their dissatisfaction to Hamas and lead to protests inside the Strip.

This week marks the seventh "March of Return" protest along the Gaza border, with 151 Palestinians having been killed thus far. 50 of those killed were Hamas and Islamic Jihad militants, according to assessments.

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