TEL AVIV — Senators Dianne Feinstein and Bernie Sanders this week released statements about the orchestrated assault on Israel’s border that must make Hamas terrorists proud.
Feinstein on Tuesday announced she is “deeply disappointed” with U.S. ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley for taking action to stop the UN Security Council from opening an investigation into Israel’s defensive actions to stop the Hamas-organized border attack.
“I’m deeply disappointed in Ambassador Haley’s decision to block a UN inquiry into yesterday’s events,” said Feinstein in the statement. “Without question there should be an independent investigation when the lives of so many are lost.”
Feinstein was clearly motivated by news media reports citing the “Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza” claiming that 58 Palestinians were killed during Monday’s riots. Many outlets failed to report that the ministry is controlled by the Hamas terrorist group that organized the riots and has a vested interest in inflating casualty numbers. Hamas has a history of exaggerating such claims and using civilians, including children, as human shields.
One day after her statement, Feinstein seems to have egg on her face. In an interview with a Palestinian media outlet, Hamas official Salah Bardawil stated that 50 of the alleged casualties were Hamas members.
Three Gazans were shot while trying to plant explosive devices at the border fence, while others were killed attempting to open fire on Israeli soldiers, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said. Israel has identified a total of 24 casualties as members of Gazan terrorist groups.
Regardless of the casualty count, the deaths took place during a terrorist-sponsored, violent campaign in which civilians and jihadists tried to overrun the borders of a nation-state. The plot openly aimed to storm Israel’s borders and murder as many Jews as possible.
Feinstein didn’t stop there. She appeared to connect Hamas’s pre-planned mayhem with President Donald Trump’s decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem while she offensively demanded Israeli “restraint.”
“While protests must remain peaceful, Israeli forces must exercise greater restraint in the use of live ammunition,” the California Democrat said. “President Trump’s decision to move the U.S. embassy was a serious mistake that will reverberate throughout the region. U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital should have been resolved in the context of broader peace negotiations where both sides benefit.”
Feinstein may have forgotten that she herself voted in favor of the 1995 law requiring the U.S. to move its embassy to Jerusalem unless a presidential waiver were signed. Trump utilized that law to move the embassy this week. Feinstein also voted for a bill last June declaring “Jerusalem should remain the undivided capital” of Israel.
Sanders, meanwhile, posted a video to his Twitter account that can only be described as pure Hamas propaganda. It depicts Palestinians as largely peaceful protesters, with one speaker misleadingly saying of the rioters: “These are people who are inside Gaza. These are not people who invaded Israel and are threatening to take the town.”
Not only did the Facebook page for the Gaza riots instruct followers on where to breach the border fence and attempt to infiltrate Israeli communities, protesters themselves were quoted as saying their goal is just that. In one of countless examples, 23-year-old Mohammed Mansoura told the Washington Post, “We are excited to storm and get inside.” Asked by the newspaper what he would do if he penetrated Israel, the rioter replied, “Whatever is possible, to kill, throw stones.”
In light of yesterday’s horrific violence in Gaza, in which more than 50 Palestinians were killed and more than 2000 wounded by Israeli snipers, it’s important to understand the desperate situation out of which these protests have arisen. pic.twitter.com/WLrlGxJKDo
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) May 15, 2018
The Sanders video blamed Hamas’s pre-planned riots on the U.S. embassy move. “The embassy move brought tensions to a boiling point,” the video said, claiming Palestinians had lost hope that “East Jerusalem” could become their capital.
It is outrageous to claim that the Palestinians would need to resort to such actions in order to create a state. The Palestinians have infamously turned down every Israeli statehood offer, each those that came with a shared capital in Jerusalem. Those offers were made at Camp David in 2000, Taba in 2001, the Annapolis Conference in 2007, and more offers were made in 2008 and reportedly in 2014. In each of these cases, the PA refused generous Israeli offers of statehood and bolted negotiations without counteroffers. Only today, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yet again called on the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table.
The only thing standing in the way of the Palestinians having a state — including one with a foothold in Jerusalem — is the Palestinians’ own abject refusal to accept numerous statehood offers while rejecting Israel’s very existence.
Sanders has a history of pushing anti-Israel propaganda. He previously outdid even Hamas when he falsely claimed that Israel killed “over 10,000 innocent people” during the 2014 Gaza War.
When he posted the video on the Gaza riots, Sanders tweeted that “it’s important to understand the desperate situation out of which these protests have arisen.”
Indeed. In that vein, this reporter earlier this week analyzed some of the main motivations for Hamas’s riot campaign:
First there is Iran. Earlier on Monday, Israel’s Shin Bet security service revealed it possesses information that Iran is funding some of Hamas’ riots. The Iranians have an interest in riding the wave of Gaza violence to deflect the IDF’s attention from Syria, where Israel has carried out numerous bombing raids that have reportedly devastated Iranian military positions and Iran-run bases in that country. Iran is also seeking revenge for those Israeli strikes and for Trump’s decision to withdraw from the international nuclear accord.
Then there are prominent internal Hamas considerations. The Islamist terrorist group understands the Gaza population is frustrated that 11 years of Hamas rule has resulted in destructive wars – launched each time by Hamas itself – and an economy dangerously teetering on the brink of collapse. Hamas’s decision to turn Gaza into a terrorist enclave has prompted an Israel-Egypt boycott that has impacted all aspects of Gaza life, although Israel allows for truckloads of humanitarian goods and supplies per day to enter Gaza.
Gazans are also suffering from the Hamas-Fatah divide, with the rulers of the West Bank and Gaza Strip failing to reach a reconciliation agreement that would likely result in a flow of aid to Gaza.
Hamas views Israel’s 70th anniversary, yesterday’s Jerusalem Day and President Donald Trump’s historic relocation of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem as perfect opportunities to channel Gazans’ anger and redirect the rage toward the easiest target – Israel.
Hamas correctly estimated that the ensuing casualty count will bring international news media attention to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and thrust the issue to the center of the foreign policy debate. The terrorist group couldn’t ask for a better publicity gift than major international news networks — reportedly including CNN, Sky News and the BBC – featuring today’s Hamas riots on a split screen with the opening ceremony for the new U.S. embassy.
The border clashes may also press Egypt into easing the blockade and put Egyptian pressure on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party to reach a reconciliation deal, since Gaza tensions usually favor the jihadists operating against Egypt in the Sinai. Abbas must fear that the protests could spread to the West Bank and threaten his rule there.
And finally, Hamas has been cash-strapped lately after many of its state patrons reportedly pulled some of their financing. The Gaza riot campaign, with help from the international news media, puts Hamas back at the forefront and signals that it is useful to financially support the terrorist movement once again. This as Hamas leads the people of Gaza down the path of destruction.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.