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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Lebanese army threatens Israel at "Global March" tomorrow

Israel's Reshet  reports:
Thousands are expected tomorrow morning to march on Israel's borders and the Lebanese army has been threatening against Israel in response if the IDF will act militarily against the demonstrators at the fence. "The military was prepared to deal with any Israeli aggression," said the Lebanese army chief of staff and Walid Salman.

During a tour Salman made along the Israeli-Lebanese border, where he visited the military forces deployed there, the Lebanese chief of staff declared: "We are on full alert, due to the harsh conditions suffered by the region. We are coordinating with the international forces to foil any conspiracy of the enemy."

Salman said that the Lebanese army set what he called "silent procession" which is expected to be held tomorrow at the borders of Israel. "Our goal is to defend the nation," he said. Lebanon noted that Salman's comments come after Israel sent warnings to Lebanon and other neighboring countries, saying it does not intend to exercise restraint if its sovereign borders are breached.
A few days ago the Lebanese organizers of the march denied that they would approach the border:
Despite previous announcements that a planned Land Day march at the end of the month would go to the Israeli-Lebanese border, the Lebanese branch of the Global March to Jerusalem will instead head to Beaufort Castle, east of Nabatieh.Sources close to the march told The Daily Star that the route change was due to a desire on the part of organizers to prevent friction on the border.

Last spring, the Israeli army killed around 10 Palestinians and injured nearly 100 more when protesters split off from the route of a Nakba Day march and rushed to the border at Maroun al-Ras.*

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. “Given what took place last year, we needed to choose a place that was not so close [to the border] so we don’t repeat last year’s experience,” they said.
*Israel did not kill the protesters at the Lebanese border last year - the Lebanese Army did.

It looks like the Iranian contingents and their proxies are the ones to watch out for, as they seem to be the ones who are most interested in bloodshed tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Arab News reports that ordinary Palestinian Arabs are not too keen on these events:

This year’s planned massive demonstration is coming at a time when the Palestinian issue has fallen off the political table and may quite possibly not generate much support from the Palestinians themselves who live in the West Bank and who prefer the current economic prosperity and security calm to renewed violence with Israel.

In the West Bank, organizer Said Yakin said there were two main marches: One at the Qalandya crossing between Ramallah and Jerusalem; and one at Rachel’s Tomb, separating Jerusalem from Bethlehem. Smaller demonstrations were also expected in surrounding villages.

“We are against violence,” Yakin told The Media Line. “We do not choose to clash with the Israeli soldiers and are calling on them to be careful because we are without weapons. We are under occupation and we look to live in peace without settlements and checkpoints, blood and discrimination.”
Here is the website to get all the latest information on the seamy underside of the Global March to Jerusalem.

(h/t Yoel)