Global March to Jerusalem: Change of plans for Lebanon?

The Lebanese newspaper ‘The Daily Star’ reported on March 23rd that GMJ organisers have abandoned plans to mass on the border between Israel and Lebanon.

“Organizers of the Land Day march by Palestinians decided Friday to change the route of the procession so that it concludes at Beaufort Castle, east of Nabatiyeh instead of the Israeli-Lebanese border, as was originally announced.

Sources close to Global March to Jerusalem said that participants in the 26th annual Land Day protest, scheduled for March 30, will march from Palestinian refugee camps, converge and head toward Beaufort Castle, the Crusader fortress that served as a military base of operations for Israeli troops during Israel’s occupation of south Lebanon.

The sources attributed the change of route to the organizers’ desire to avoid any violation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701, which aims to prevent Lebanese-Israeli friction in border areas.

They added that organizers do not want to strain their relationship with the Lebanese army or the U.N. Interim Forces in Lebanon.”

The news follows reports that Israel approached the surrounding countries with requests not to allow demonstrators to reach the borders.

Hopefully, this news – if accurate – will counter the rather different picture of the ongoing organization in Lebanon as presented several days earlier by the ‘Uprooted Palestinians’ blog in a post which originally appeared on the Hizballah website.

“In Ein El Helwe refugee camp, the preparations for the march are taking place efficiently. The event organizers stated that “children, men, women, and elderly of the revolution will be marching to al-Quds (Jerusalem)”. Here, in Fateh quarters, Palestinians from all ages rushed to register their names in the march to al-Quds (Jerusalem). Taghrid al-Sadik, a participant in the march said “I am more than excited to take at least a whiff of my country”. However, this girl who signed up for the event will not be taking the bus to the march, instead she will, with tens of her friends, go to the specified location on foot to join the march later on. They will go there two days earlier, on the 28th of March. The organizers confirmed that the location on boarders is yet to be specified for further notice because of logistic and security matters that concern the Lebanese legal forces.

At the registration centers, Abo Mahmoud el-Housein pleads loudly “you honorable ones, al-Aqsa is calling, what are you waiting for? al-Aqsa gates’ are sealed, and will only open by our martyr”. Abo thaer, a fateh soldier, wrote down in his registration form “blood group: my blood is Palestinian, and my wounds are Palestinian”. This soldier is aware that he is going to the battlefield empty handed in the march to south Lebanon with his fellow refugees. He said “even though we don’t bear weapons, we fight with our bare hands.”

Upon the excited shouts of those signing up to the march, stands out the voice of the chief of the advisory board of GMJ, Abo Bassam al Makdah “We die for the prosperity of Palestine” he said. “Millions of people of more than sixty countries, was it Arab, Islamic, Asian, or African will be rallying to the Palestinian borders along with its surrounding countries,” Abo bassam elaborated. El makdah emphasized that “we dream of civilizing our struggle with the enemy for the sake of al-Quds (Jerusalem) and Palestine”.

Atif mousa, a member of the media committee of GMJ, describes this movement “as a kind of referendum for this struggle,” adding “it is a big Yes for al-Quds (Jerusalem)”. He also pointed out that “there are five registration centers in Ain el-Helwi refugee camp that have widely opened their doors towards those who wish to join GMJ, the strikes, and the photo exhibits that would be held prior to the march. As for Maher Shabayta, a Fateh Leader at Ain el-Helwe, pointed out that the event organizers are working so hard to comprise a large number of participants from the refugee camp, not to mention maintaining the security in this peaceful march, where no flag will be raised but the Palestinian national flag, in addition to the flags of participating countries and the unified slogans and calls.

Still the above doesn’t completely erode Palestinian fear of the march being canceled any second because of the dangerous situations in Lebanon, or the gathering points being too far from the Palestinian soil , consequently ” We won’t be able to take a whiff from home”, says the activist in the “The activist” group, mohammad Saed. He also adds “it’s ok if the “Israeli” enemy shoots live bullets on unarmed civilians, as they did before in the march of the Return at the anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba, paving the way to Palestine”. “

A subsequent ‘Daily Star’ report from March 24th suggested that the rallying point has not yet been finalized.

“But another source from the committee organizing the march told The Daily Star that the group had submitted three possible end-points for the protest to the Lebanese Army for approval, none of them on the Blue Line: Beaufort Castle, Bint Jbeil and Naqoura.”

The report also states that some of the expected 30,000 participants from the Lebanese Palestinian refugee camps “are being asked to give their blood types”.

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Hizballah site promotes Holocaust-denying Global March to Jerusalem organizer

The Hizballah website ‘Moqawama’ features an interview with the GMJ media co-ordinator in Lebanon, Dr Abdul Malik Sukaryeh.

The interview’s introduction is written in typical dramatic Hizballah style:

“To there, they head.

Blood on the palms, eyes to the land, and hearts’ beats race the path. From all over the Globe they came with the same goal and one loud cry.

Al-Quds was, is, and will remain Palestinian.

Choosing an unprecedented path, they launched their move. From the close borders with Palestine they are to fulfill a dream and reiterate a vow.

“We’re to be back and pray in al-Aqsa Mosque and the Resurrection Church.”
March 30th, 1976: “Israel” massacred dozens of Palestinians striking “Israeli” decision to confiscate Palestinian lands. It was “Land Day”.

36 years later, freedom and justice seekers from all over the world gathered in a Global March to commemorate the anniversary and to raise a scream against “Israeli” continuous occupation of al-Quds Holy city.

In the body of the interview, Abdul Malik Sukaryeh stated:

“The move aims at redirecting the compass towards Occupied Palestine.”

“Amid what our region is witnessing, the Palestinian news have become at the end of our priorities and bulletins; this if Palestine was even mentioned.”

 “What Palestine is facing, particularly the Holy al-Quds city is much more dangerous than any development in any other Arab country,”

“The aim of participants is to draw attention to the systematic discrimination of Palestinians in al-Quds, and to make a concrete effort to end the occupation.”

“As the successive “Israeli” governments have created policies with one goal in mind: to get and keep Palestinians out of their homeland as well as to make way for a purely Jewish state; many Arab and Western governments stand idly by and watch as Palestinians endure systematic dispossession and displacement,” 

Sukaryeh went on to elaborate on the technical aspects of the march:

“Mass rallies will take place in bordering countries (Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan) and inside Occupied Palestine. However, Egyptian rallies are to be held in Liberty Square.”

“Part of the Global March will seize the “Israeli” embassies in Western, African, and Asian countries by protests that reflect the real nature of this suppressing terrorist entity,” 

He added that:

“Certain parties are pressuring to absent Syria from the global march scene under political pretexts,”

“The national Syrian committee is continuing its preparations as part of the move.”

“There are more than 700,000 Palestinian refugees in Syria who- with all the national Syrians, are to commemorate the anniversary of “Land Day” and to reassure their commitment to the genuine central cause; Palestine,” 

One cannot but wonder if Syrians engaged in the year-long struggle against Bashar Assad’s regime would agree with Sukaryeh’s priorities, but his statement does provide insight into the fact that any events on the Syrian border with Israel on March 30th will certainly be orchestrated and approved by the incumbent Hizballah and Iran-backed regime in Damascus.

Sukaryeh then went on to invoke the scepter of imaginary Israeli threats against the marchers – engaging in Holocaust denial along the way. (emphasis added)

“On the crossroads of hard choices, participants in the Global March to al-Quds are ready to face with their screams, banners, and position all types of “Israeli” brutality.

“Israel fears us,” Sukaryeh responded to “Israeli” threats of confronting the protesters with an iron fist.

“The Zionist front is witnessing a state of panic and dread. We estimate that the march has succeeded even before it started.” “

Sukaryeh recalled images from the flotilla “Israeli” massacre and May 2011 martyrs at the borders with Lebanon and Syria, wondering:

“Is ‘Israel’ going to massacre us? What is the international price for such an “Israeli” step? How much would “Israel” massacre, a thousand, or 10,000 civilians. This would be genocide, a real Holocaust not a pretended one.”

“The history of the Zionist entity is full of crimes and terrorism. We won’t be surprised if “Israel” attacks the peaceful protesters but we aren’t afraid and nothing will defeat our will even if the “Israeli” fulfilled its threats of air striking the rally. We are to continue,” the media organizer stressed.

Clearly, some GMJ organisers are actually seeking a violent confrontation which would serve their publicity purposes and provide an opportunity for further assaults on Israel’s legitimacy in bodies such as the UNHRC. Sukaryeh also reflects the approach voiced by some of the other non-Western organisers of the march according to which, the project aims to be the first leg of a ‘third Intifada’.

“He further noted that “Israel” fears a 3rd Intifada” welcoming “any public movement that redirects the priorities.”

“The so-called Madrid peace conference in which 100 countries gathered has achieved nothing along the past 20 years. Oslo offered nothing to the Palestinians. In front of the “Israeli” intransigence, one can see that Palestinians have nothing but to return to confronting the “Israeli” aggressions,” he stressed.”

Interestingly, Sukaryeh claimed that the GMJ project does not have its roots in the Middle East:

“What characterizes this move is that it was initiated and called for by international prominent and respected cultural, political, religious, academic, and sports figures from all over the world. It was not an event first launched by Palestinians or Arabs,”

This statement contrasts directly with that of GMJ organizer Paul Larudee who wrote:

“We hear some of the same arguments: that the project is too risky and confrontational. However, it is also true that the project was not the brainchild of any of these solidarity groups, or even of their Palestinian allies. Instead, it came from groups that represent large numbers of Palestinians – including many from the Palestinian expatriate communities in the border countries, such as the refugee camps, the Islamic movements and the supporters of armed resistance groups.”

What Larudee and Sukaryeh do have in common, however, is a somewhat strange definition of non-violence, which does not appear to include the storming and illegal infiltration of the borders of a sovereign country or trespassing in its diplomatic missions worldwide. Here is Larudee writing about GMJ plans in an ISM newsletter from December of last year. (emphasis added)

“The movement has no illusions about the difficulties, and its participants are not suicidal.  The plan is to challenge every part of every border – Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Gaza and the West Bank – to march peacefully to Jerusalem.  We will have hundreds of separate, imaginative plans for hundreds of separate groups, to overcome the obstacles at as many points of entry as possible, often creating our own entry points.  We will also have multiple contingency plans in case we are thwarted in some areas, as will inevitably be the case.  In many cases, the march may devolve into “Occupy” encampments and demonstrations.  Whatever happens, we will learn from it and make improvements the following year, for what we intend will be an annual event.”

Global March to Jerusalem website server host unmasked

Taking look at the subject of the registration and hosting of the various GMJ websites, it transpires that they share an IP address with the website of the AhlulBayt Islamic Mission – the Islamic Republic of Iran aligned Shia missionary organisation in the United Kingdom. The server hosting both the AhlulBayt site and the GMJ sites is registered to a Leicester resident named Shabbir Hassanally. Read all the details here.

Mr Hassanally appears to be quite a fan of Hizbollah’s Hassan Nasrallah. In fact he puts considerable effort into making English language sub-titles for Nasrallah’s frequent speeches which he then posts on his own blog – apparently unconcerned by the fact that Hizbollah’s military wing is proscribed by his own government and that the glorification of terrorism is a criminal offence in the UK.

Hassanally has also acted as roving reporter in Lebanon for the Palestine Telegraph – founded and edited by Sameh Habib (aka Sameh Akram Subhi Habeeb) who is also spokesman for the flotilla-organising ‘European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza’ which was set up by the Muslim Brotherhood’s European arm – the Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe (FIOE) – in 2007. The Palestine Telegraph proved to be too extreme even for its former patron Jenny Tonge and it and its editor have been involved in multiplescandals.

Here is Shabbir Hassanally celebrating the 32nd anniversary of the Iranian regime last year. Note his apparent subscription to the messianic Mahdi concept and his description of Israel as “the cancer occupying our beloved Palestine“.