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Lebanese Army May Hold Back 'Naksa Day' Protesters

As Arabs prepare for 'Naksa Day' protests, Lebanon says it may hold back protesters to avoid a repeat of 'Nakba Day'.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 6/1/2011, 3:15 AM / Last Update: 6/1/2011, 3:13 AM

Flash 90

The Lebanese army may hold back protesters who are planning to demonstrate on the border with Israel on Sunday, the Lebanon-based Daily Star reported on Tuesday.

Sunday is the day known as ‘Naksa Day’, the anniversary of the liberation of Jerusalem by the IDF in the 1967 Six Day War, and protests are planned similar to those that took place on ‘Nakba Day’ a few weeks ago.

However, the Lebanese army is saying it fears the protests might lead to a repeat of the events of Nakba Day, when several Arab rioters attempted to breach the border fence between Lebanon and Israel and infiltrate into Israeli territory.

The Lebanese army said at least 15 people had been killed by Israeli gunfire in that incident; the IDF had reported that six died.

“The army has reservations about allowing protesters to reach the border,” a source in Lebanon’s army told The Daily Star. “We won’t allow a repeat of what happened on Nakba Day in terms of killings of Palestinians.”

The source said that protesters might be allowed to demonstrate as close as the southern village of Khiam, about four kilometers from the Israeli border, but not any closer.

“From Khiam, they [the protesters] would be able to see Palestine and express their opinion [without getting into trouble],” said the source.

The Daily Star reported of Facebook campaigns which have called for Arabs to march to the Israeli border in Lebanon, Syria and Gaza in order to commemorate the Naksa.

The sources also noted that while PA factions in Lebanon have yet to set the location for Naksa Day protests, Syrian-backed PA groups are ready to mobilize for a massive demonstration Sunday. On Nakba Day, nearly 1,000 Syrian Arabs who called themselves “Palestinians” invaded the Golan Heights, reaching the village of Majdal Shams and rioting there.

Meanwhile, a Hamas official in Sidon told The Daily Star that PA factions would soon hold a meeting to announce plans for Naksa Day commemorations.