(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Friday's planned “Land Day” march to the border fence in the Gaza Strip, as well as other actions Palestinians may take to coincide with Independence Day, the US embassy move to Jerusalem and “Nakba Day,” were discussed at Wednesday's weekly security cabinet meeting that took place without an ill Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presiding.
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman chaired the meeting in Netanyahu's stead. The ministers were briefed on the situation by Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, and Nadav Argaman, the head of the General Security Services.
The prime minister, taken to the hospital Tuesday night to undergo tests for a high fever and bad cough, was released after midnight and diagnosed with a mild upper respiratory viral infection. The doctors recommended rest and medication.
High-fevered Netanyahu released from hospital, March 27, 2018 (Reuters)
This was the second security cabinet meeting since Sunday dealing with threats of massive Palestinian action in the coming weeks. All the government ministers, and not only those in the security cabinet, were instructed not to talk about the planned Land Day protests, or how Israel will respond.
The reason, Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi said in a Kan Bet interview, is because “words create reality.”
Hanegbi said that the government understands the challenges the march presents, and that the security forces — based on past experience — are prepared to meet them.
After a number of years of quiet and calm in Gaza since Operation Protective Edge in 2014, the trend over the last few months in Gaza “is not positive,” Hanegbi said. He blamed this in part on Iran, which has an interest in constant tension in the south — as well as in challenging Israel through Hezbollah In the north — to wear Israel down and obligate it to devote time and energy to deal with local security incidents.
Hamas and Iran had a severe falling out with the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011, but as Syrian President Bashar Assad’s position has stabilized, and as Hamas's situation has become more difficult and it has become more desperate for backers, the two sides have once against identified common interests and are once again working closely together, Hanegbi added.