Gaza Palestinians Plan Mass March Into Israel Monday
Debka File

Beefed-up Israeli military and security forces prepared to repulse thousands of Palestinians planning to crash the full length of the Gazan-Israeli border and its crossings at 10:00 a.m. IT Monday, Feb. 25.

DEBKAfile's military sources report Hamas is engineering a "popular" protest to be much more violent than the Jan. 23 Palestinian surge into Egypt through the border wall smashed by its bulldozers.

Behind the human shield of women, children and elderly leading the assault on Monday, Hamas, Jihad Islami and Fatah are expected to shoot, send in suicide bombers and unleash a Qassam barrage. If Israeli forces are goaded into opening fire, civilian casualties may be heavy enough to draw international condemnation. If they hold back, the Palestinian terrorists will capture the border fence and knock it over.

By preventing a full-scale military operation against the Palestinian missile and terror campaign from Gaza and imposing a siege instead, prime minister Ehud Olmert and defense minister Ehud Barak have left the initiative with Hamas which exploits it to the hilt.

DEBKAfile reports "human chain which will "demonstrate" along the border from the Rafah terminal in the south to Erez in the north is organized by the Committee for Breaking the Israeli Siege headed by Hamas, although the terrorist group's spokesmen claimed it is a "spontaneous" protest against the Israeli blockade.

Israel's military and security chiefs are conferring urgently Sunday night with chief of staff Lt. Gen. Gaby Ashkenazi.

The Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem told reporters that non-lethal measures for dispersing crowds are ready to ward off the massive assault on the border fence in an effort to avoid civilian casualties.

After weeks, Egypt finally cracked down on the Palestinian invasion of Sinai when its foreign minister threatened to "break the arms and legs" of infiltrators. Even then, they were defied by the Palestinian invaders.

It looks now as though the long-delayed big confrontation between the IDF and Hamas will not take place inside the Gaza Strip but on Israeli soil.