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Global march organizers say will not confront forces
Published Sunday 18/03/2012 (updated) 19/03/2012 15:04
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Demonstrators flee Israeli tear gas as they gather along Syria's border with
Israel. (AFP/Jack Guez)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Organizers of an international rally to support Palestinians at the end of the month said Sunday they are not interested in confrontation with the Israeli army, after similar demonstrations a year earlier ended in bloodshed.

"We are after all not an army, but popular peaceful international forces aiming to show solidarity with Palestine and with Jerusalem," spokesman of the Global March to Jerusalem Zahir Al-Birawi told Ma'an.

The group, who list Noble Laureates Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Mairead Maguire as advisers, say they are organizing simultaneous rallies in 60 countries on March 30, which marks Palestinian Land Day.

Land Day commemorates the death of six Palestinian citizens of Israel, who took part in a general strike in protest of an Israeli decision to confiscate privately owned Palestinian lands in 1976.

Last Land Day saw Palestinians protest across the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Israel without casualties.

But two months later simultaneous rallies to commemorate the Nakba -- the 'catastrophe' when thousands of Palestinians were forced out or fled in fighting that led to Israel's founding -- brought thousands towards Israel's borders in Lebanon, Syria and Gaza, leaving 13 dead by Israeli fire.

In June, hundreds of protesters in Syria stormed the ceasefire line with Israel in the occupied Golan Heights, on Naksa Day, the anniversary of the 1967 war when Israel seized the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Sinai and Golan Heights. Damascus said 23 were killed when Israeli forces opened fire, while Israel disputed the toll.

A statement from the group said at the Land Day march "Palestinians and their international supporters will attempt to get as close to Jerusalem as they can: whether at the borders of Lebanon and Jordan, at checkpoints in the West Bank, or at the Erez crossing in Gaza."

Zahir Al-Birawi told Ma'an he expects millions to take part this year, and popular protests have been coordinated with governments in Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon, although not in Syria.

Organizers are waiting for confirmation from the Jordanian government on the most appropriate location for the country's protests, while in Egypt protests are planned at Al-Azhar Mosque, Tahrir Square, and a commemorative sports tournament in Cairo.

In Lebanon popular forces are working hard to determine a location for the rally near the border with Israel, and in Syria the organizers are coordinating with the local Palestinian population.

Al-Birawi noted that rallies would also take place in front of Israeli embassies world wide to protest Israel's occupation.

In Palestine, rallies have been prepared for four months, organizing committee member Salah Khawajah said.

But the organizers stressed the peaceful nature of the protests.

"During a time of upheaval throughout the Middle East, the nonviolent demonstrations on Palestinian Land Day this year could well mark a turning point in the Palestinian struggle for liberation and self-determination," a group statement said.
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1 ) AKeenReader / UK
18/03/2012 11:00
Palestinian Land Day should be given as much TV coverage and publicity as possibble. It's time that Israel is humiliated especially with what's going on as part of Arab spring. Long Live Palestine & the palestinian people. God Bless!

2 ) Abdullah / palestine
18/03/2012 11:25
How could we participate in palestine............who do we consult?????/

3 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
18/03/2012 17:14
They say they are "not interested in confrontation" However, aren't these the same people who say kassam rockets have no warheads?

4 ) Colin Wright / USA
18/03/2012 21:52
To Brian Cohen #3 'They say they are "not interested in confrontation" However, aren't these the same people who say kassam rockets have no warheads?' No, they're not -- whoever said that? They're also not the same people who say the IDF 'has the best human rights record in the world,' that Israel is 'the only democracy in the Middle East,' and that Israel is only trying to defend herself. Believe it or not, there are people who actually make those claims.

5 ) Phil Mc Cullough Belfast / Ireland
18/03/2012 21:54
Well Brian what about the denial of USA made phosporous killer bombs which murdered Palestinians just a short time ago by the Zionists. You have a very selective Zionist mentality.

6 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
18/03/2012 23:44
There are great videos on youtube of Palestinian propagandist Dianna Buttu on Fox News saying just that - kassams have no warheads. She's one of the more famous and more active propagandists who travels the world saying just that. Since somebody with deep pockets is funding her travels, you have to assume that somehow the PA is picking up her tab. And let's get real, Colin and Phil - these people are indeed looking for a confrontation. The people sending them no doubt are planning for blood.

7 ) @ Phil / #5
19/03/2012 02:00
Phosporus shells were used defensively and murdered no one, and they were only used because Gaza started another war, with their attack on civilians !!!

8 ) DuncanMC / USA
19/03/2012 02:39
It has the potential to be a bloody day indeed. I believe it is what the "Palestinians" want. May God protect and keep Israel from it's enemies!

9 ) Robby / USA
19/03/2012 02:48
3 ) Brian Cohen / Israel - Don't now who these people are, but I hope they don't think "storming the cease fire line" is the same thing as avoiding confrontation.

10 ) southparkbear / usa
19/03/2012 16:43
those holy peace making dogs are looking forward

11 ) Abdirobbi / Indonesia
01/04/2012 11:19
Allahuakbar
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