Almost all Israeli analyses coincide that the Palestinian marches of return in the so-called “border area with the Gaza Strip” do not pose a significant risk to Israel, taking account of the balance of
powers between both sides. Hence, there is no talk about a pure military confrontation, but a battle of awareness. In this battle, Palestinians seek to place the crippling siege imposed by Israel on the Gaza Strip at the top of regional and international agendas as well as at the centre of Israel’s domestic agenda (Israeli newspapers, 8 April 2018).
According to these analyses, the success the Palestinian side makes in this battle of awareness is essentially conditional on the Israeli reaction, which has so far been excessively violent. At least 32 Palestinians were killed and hundreds others injured by the Israeli army fire, particularly by snipers.
Against this background, the present report focuses on how this battle reflects on the internal Israeli debate. Of particular note is the official Israeli reaction to domestic protests against the use of excessive violence. Israel’s reaction has translated into a violent attack on the positions of human rights organisations and some opposition parties. On the other hand, Israeli authorities claimed they would attempt and reduce the number of casualties in upcoming demonstrations, in fear of what they described as “turning public opinion and international community against Israel”. Israeli authorities also seek to prevent the possibility of sliding back into a comprehensive and large-scale military confrontation in the Gaza Strip.
Many commentators are of the view that Palestinians have scored achievements in this battle. First and foremost, the question of Palestine has made headlines years after it had been absent from international media outlets.