The Israeli soldiers took up positions near the Gaza fence. Over 100 men in total, they crouched behind a large berm obscuring the view of their target. They talked.
“We never should have left Gaza in 2005,” said Corporal No-Name Israeli.
“I know,” said Private Faceless Ashkenazi, “but now we can finally rectify the mistake.”
They were called to attention by their commander and fifty conversations dropped in a moment.
“My dear brothers, we will now begin a multi-week attack on the border that was set up dividing our homeland,” the stocky 26-year-old Zionist commander began. “Our mission is to obliterate the fence that marks the beginning of Jew-free land. Every Friday over the course of several weeks, we will come to various spots along the Gaza border and begin to dismantle the fence. We will use a variety of means as the situation demands, but be prepared to use the full array of armaments that you carry.”
The Israeli soldiers were delighted. They shot off their guns in the air and passed candies among each other as though they had just killed a terrorist.
“Begin!” the commander called.
And just like that, 120 soldiers climbed the dune and began to fire upon the Gaza border fence.
The Reaction in Gaza
The Hamas Friday bingo game was just getting exciting. The sweet-faced Ismail Haniyeh, was calling out the numbers for the crowd of 2,000 peace-loving refugees. “I – 48,” he called into the microphone in the large UNRWA-funded mosque. “I – 48. ‘I’ as in ‘Inshallah’ and ’48’ as in the year marking our Nakba.”
Suddenly the crackle of gunfire pierced their quiet Friday ritual.
“The Israelis!” someone cried. “The Israelis are attacking the border. They are trying to reclaim Gaza!”
The head of the popular social service organization knew he needed to take charge. Haniyeh pulled the microphone to his mouth. “People! Hamas does not want there to be any violence. We must take measured approaches to the Israeli attacks. Everyone, go to your home and remove the tires from your vehicles and meet me near the border fence with as many tires as you can muster!”
Within 30 minutes, tens of thousands of simple, kind, gentle Palestinians were at the border of their coastal enclave in a desperate attempt to save their border fence. Members from the global press and United Nations brought tires too.
As they watched their dear fence slowly crumble from the Israeli gunfire, Yahwa Sinwar, another Hamas leader known for his warm outreach to Israelis shouted in a megaphone: “People of Gaza! Protect our fence! Set fire to your tires and roll them towards the fence to obscure the vision of the Israeli snipers. Protect our Gaza! Protect our independence!”
The Gazans were caught off guard. No one had told them to bring matches. Each turned to the right and left for a light.
The UNRWA officials at the rally came to the rescue. They put down the dozens of Molotov cocktails that they were holding and lit up everyone’s tires.
The smoke screen began.
A picture taken on March 30, 2018 from the southern Israeli kibbutz of Nahal Oz across the border from the Gaza strip./ AFP PHOTO / Jack GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
The Israelis were alarmed. They were not expecting a protest from the Gazans. The Palestinians had always been peaceful and content with their situation, whether good or bad. But now they were harming the operation by shielding the fence.
The Israeli commander instructed his soldiers to put down their guns. “Throw your grenades towards the fence!” he yelled. “Ideally, as indiscriminately as possible.”
The blasts and booms sent fear into the Gazans’ hearts. The dirt and debris flew everywhere. This was no longer simply a matter of the border fence being destroyed, but the laundry on the lines near the fence was becoming filthy.
Haniyeh ordered the people forward towards the fence. Everyone grabbed the sheets and slingshots that were lying on the ground and began to fling the rocks and debris off in the direction of the Israelis to get them to stop their attack on the fence. Even the press and senior leadership of UNRWA began to throw their Molotov cocktails towards the Israelis in an attempt to reestablish the status quo of peace and civility.
After a few hours, each side returned home, knowing that they would repeat the same dance each Friday until Israel’s Independence Day, when Israelis both celebrate their country’s birth and mourn the truncated nature of their sovereignty in the Jewish Promised Land.
As always, the smoke screen would continue.
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