'Palestinians in Lebanon to postpone Naksa Day march'

Source tells Lebanese newspaper 'Daily Star' protest organizers to hold off demonstrations after pressure from Lebanon's army, government.

June 3, 2011 12:16
2 minute read.
Police remove protesters near Baram Forest

Police remove protesters near Baram Forest 311. (photo credit: Ben Hartman)


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Palestinians in Lebanon will announce a postponement to Sunday's "Naksa Day" march to the Israeli border commemorating the 1967 Six-Day War, a high-ranking Palestinian source told Lebanese newspaper the Daily Star on Friday. Palestinians reportedly decided to hold off the demonstration after pressure from the Lebanese authorities.

One of the organizers of the march had told the Daily Star Thursday that protesters would reach the border with Israel, even if it was not on the June 5 date.

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The "Naksa" march was planned to set off from the southern coastal village of Nakoura and continue eastward to Khiam, a village 4 kilometers from the border. Between 300 and 500 buses were reportedly scheduled to transport tens of thousands of Palestinian-Lebanese to the border areas.

Lebanese officials, however, reportedly held meetings with Palestinian factions in recent days to convince them to instead hold an indoor rally in Sidon or Beirut.

Khiam was the site of a detention center run by the Israel-allied South Lebanon Army during the IDF’s 18-year presence in the security zone from 1982 to 2000, but was destroyed in the 2006 Second Lebanon War.

While the protest organizers claimed that they would hold off the march due to pressure from Lebanese authorities, military and political leaders in Israel also warned demonstrators against a repeat of the "Nakba Day" events that saw the deaths of eleven Palestinians.

On Thursday, Pimre Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Israel will react to any breach of its borders with both determination and restraint.


“Like any country in the world, Israel has the right and duty to guard and defend its borders. Therefore my instructions are clear: to act with restraint, but with the necessary decisiveness to protect our borders, our communities and our citizens,” Netanyahu said at a hi-tech conference in Jerusalem.

“On the 15th of May we celebrated the establishment of the State of Israel, and we witnessed attempts to subvert our sovereignty and breach our borders on behalf of Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas,” said the prime minister. Those same actors, he said, are expected to lead similar events over the coming days.

Speaking ahead of a graduation ceremony at the Staff and Command College in Glilot, IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz said the military was deploying more troops in the North in preparation for "Naksa Day" infiltration attempts.

“We will move troops and command posts to the front lines,” Gantz said.

An extensive Internet campaign to commemorate the “Naksa,” or the “setback” of the Arab defeat in the 1967 war, has called on Palestinians and their supporters to march on Israel’s borders on Friday, Sunday and Tuesday.

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