One day before the commencement of events planned to mark ‘Land Day,’ organizers of the “Global March to Jerusalem” are putting in the finishing touches on the deployment of their troops. Israel is also preparing for the march; Defense Minister Ehud Barak instructed security system chiefs “to be prepared for any scenario.”
A security official told Israel’s Channel 2 News that Israel’s defense apparatus is monitoring closely events within Israel’s borders, and IDF and Border Guard units are being reinforced in preparation for possible confrontations with Arab demonstrators. Troops were equipped with riot control gear.
“After ‘Nachsa’ and ‘Nakba’ (catastrophe in Arabic) days, the Military Engineering Forces upgraded the obstacles along the border fence with Syria,” the official said, adding that security forces in Judea and Samaria are also preparing for any scenario.
Access to the MOJ official website, gm2j.com, has been blocked on Wednesday night, and organizers blamed Israeli hackers for taking down the site.
Thursday afternoon, dozens of pro-Palestinian activists arrived in Lebanon, to participate in the march toward Israel’s northern border Friday morning. According to reports, some activists had difficulty entering Lebanon via its sea ports, probably because of warning messages issued by Israel to its neighbors, saying it would not behave with restraint in face of a threat to its borders.
The website Debka File reported that special flights carrying thousands of pro-Palestinian activists from Tehran touched down in Damascus last Tuesday. “Before taking off, they were split into small groups and tutored by Iranian Al Qods Brigades officers in tactics for breaching Israeli border barriers, bursting through and challenging the Israeli military forces defending the border.”
According to Debka File, one group of activists was sent by special bus to Lebanon, where Hizballah officers took them to villages near the Israeli border. Another group has been assigned to the Syrian border with Israel on the Golan.
The website “alternative News” says the march has been driven by Arab reaction to Israel’s government’s “strategy to Judaise the holy city,” based ion which Israel “has long denied most Palestinians – whether Muslim or Christian – access to Jerusalem, even to visit the holy sites.”
(The fact that the statement doesn’t have even a shred of truth to it probably qualifies it as bone fide “alternative news” – YY)
Global March initiative spokesperson Zahir al-Birawi argues, with the same level of adherence to the truth, that “through methods of ethnic cleansing, Israel is forcing Jerusalem’s remaining Palestinian inhabitants out, thus endangering the multi-religious, multi-ethnic character of the city that is the intended capital of Palestine.”
And so, in a move meant to address world public opinion, on 30 March “Palestinians and their international supporters will attempt to get as close to Jerusalem as they can: whether at the borders of Lebanon and Jordan, at checkpoints in the ‘West Bank,’ or at Erez crossing in Gaza,” al-Birawi told the Ma’an news agency.
These rallies have been scheduled to fall on Palestinian Land Day, an annual day of commemoration for Palestinians of the events that took place on that date in 1976:
In response to an Israeli government announcement of a plan to expropriate some 20,000 dunams (4,942 acres) of land in the northern Galilee for official use, a general strike and marches were organized in Arab towns from the Galilee to the Negev. In the ensuing confrontations with Israeli army and police, six Israeli Arab citizens were killed, about one hundred were wounded, and hundreds were arrested.
David Harris, Executive Director of the American Jewish Committee, wrote in the Huffington Post:
Here we go again.
First, it was the various “Freedom Flotillas” that tried to enter Hamas-controlled Gaza by sea.
Now it’s the “Global March to Jerusalem” (GMJ), slated for March 30.
Whether by sea or land, the goals are the same: to provoke confrontations with Israel, give Israel a black eye in the world media, and pursue a strategy of delegitimizing Israel’s very right to exist.
In the past few hours there was lively activity on Websites associated with the March on Jerusalem events. “We are now conducting the evening prayers … God willing, how we yearn to pray at the blessed Al-Aqsa mosque,” wrote one site.
Others blogged: “Allahu Akbar, Jerusalem, here we come. Mere hours separate us from one of the greatest days of the Arab and Islamic nation. We are confident this day, March 30, will influence all the days that will follow.”
Incidentally, it must be a coincidence, otherwise we would have to suspect the Guardian of harboring a secret animosity toward Israel. Two days before the event in which hordes of Arabs are publicizing their plan to storm Israeli borders, the Guardian describes how disappointed it is that Israel is surrounding itself with barbwire fences, completing a stretch of 150 miles of a steel fence along its Egyptian border.
“Israel extends new border fence but critics say it is a sign of weakness,” reads the Guardian’s headline, with the sub: “Doubts grow over the fortified frontiers the Jewish state says are needed as deterrents against terrorism and illegal infiltration.”
The doubts, incidentally, are basically something Alex Fishman wrote in Yedioth Aharonot about how the more fences Israel must use for its protection, the weaker its position becomes in the long run.
It’s a debatable idea, of course, but in the future, the Guardian should probably try to remain more accurate in its headline, which should have read: “Israel extends new border fence but Alex Fishman says it is a sign of weakness.”Yori Yanover
About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.
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