Israel is preparing for what it anticipates to be a tense weekend, due to the first anniversary of the demonstrations of the so-called “Great Return March”, which takes place every Friday on the border of Gaza with the Jewish State. Since March 30th , 2018, there have been constant outbreaks of violence on the border fence.
The Israeli army is on alert to the possibility that on this ‘anniversery’ tens of thousands of demonstrators will come to the Gaza border and threaten to break the security barrier and enter Israeli territory.
During the first day of the demonstrations, nearly 30,000 Palestinians had participated in the demonstrations, which resulted in 15 deaths. On May 14, during which the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem was inaugurated the estimated turnout was around 40,000 Palestinians, and the death toll was more than 50.
In recent months, the number of Palestinians who have been attending the demonstrations has been estimated at an average of 10,000.
IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi has visited the Gaza Division of the IDF, which defends the border area. He met with its commander, General Eliezer Toledano, along with the head of the Southern Command, Major General Herzi Halevi.
“During his assessment of the situation, the chief of staff demanded that the troops be must prepared for various scenarios in the region,” the army said in a statement.
An spokesman for the IDF ha ssaid that they have deployed infantry and artillery reinforcements to the region.
This week there has been an increase in tensions between Israel and the terrorist group Hamas, which rules Gaza, with a major exchanges of fire that could have provoked of all out war. Thanks to the mediation of Egypt, the escalation of violence was stopped with a de facto cessation of hostilities.
After the rocket attack from Gaza earlier this week, the IDF dispatched two additional brigades to the Gaza border region and activated approximately 1,000 air defense reserves and other select units.
The next day, Kochavi called for an additional artillery battalion and Paratroopers Brigade command unit to be deployed in the Gaza region. He also ordered for more reservists and cancelled plans for soldiers currently stationed in the Gaza Strip to move to other regions of Israel, the army spokesman said.