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”.