International protest marches to the Israeli borders scheduled for Friday to mark Land Day could get out of control due to the involvement of outside activists, organizers of the demonstrations said in a report published on Wednesday.
The Land Day marks the anniversary of protests in Israeli Arab community in 1976 over government land policy in which security forces killed six demonstrators.
Israel’s Haaretz quoted the organizers as saying that activists from as far away as East Asia are taking part in the event, dubbed as “Global March to Jerusalem,” as plans have been announced in the Arab world calling for protest marches up to the Israeli border.
Haaretz reported that major disagreements have developed between leading, mostly Palestinian, protest organizers in the West Bank and neighboring Arab countries, and other activists identified with Iran, Syria and Hezbollah.
According to the Israeli daily, the difference between the organizers and the outsiders started after a team of pro-Palestinian activists from East Asia and some Arab countries promoting the Global March to Jerusalem traveled to Iran and met with a senior Iranian adviser to the country’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Iran promised support for the protest, which was not widely welcomed by the organizers of the protest, who want to refine their protest message and avoid a physical confrontation with the Israeli forces.
Haaretz quoted a senior Palestinian official as saying that the main aim of the marches is to deliver a message to Israel showing opposition to the settlement expansion as well as the Jeweish state’s attempts to change Jerusalem’s identity through demolitions of Palestinian home.
Organizers are concerned that the outside activists might use the protest marches to seek confrontations on Israel’s borders, particularly the Lebanese and Syrian frontiers.
Organizers have announced and promoted their plans for peaceful marches in areas of the West Bank controlled by the Palestinian Authority, in the Jerusalem area, Jordan and several locations in Europe, notably in front of Israeli embassies.
(Written by Abeer Tayel)