March on Majdal Shams, May 15
March on Majdal Shams, May 15 Israel news photo: Flash 90

Syrian and Lebanese Arabs have scrapped plans to march on Israel’s borders Sunday as “Naksa Day” begins to fizzle out.

Actions by Lebanon and Israel to declare areas near the northern border to be closed military  zones, along with an American warning that the planned march might be a “provocation,” contributed to the decision to cancel the planned assault.

The Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority has stated its intentions, but without support from foreign Arabs, a demonstration for several million foreign Arabs to immigrate to Israel might be seen as a public relations bommerang.

A cornerstone of the Saudi Arabia 2002 Initiative, the basis for Palestinian Authority conditions to become an independent state within Israel’s borders, is what the Arab world calls “the right of return.” The term refers to approximately five million Arabs whose parents, grandparents and great grandparents fled Israel during the wars in 1948 and 1967. Most of them fled at the behest of Arab armies, who promised they would quickly return after the expected annihilation of Israel. A minority fled from the Israel army.

The term "Naksa” is the Arabic word for “setback,” meaning the defeat of the seven Arab countries who tried to destroy Israel in the Six-Day War in 1967. A march on Israel’s Golan Heights border two weeks ago caught the IDF unprepared, and several Arabs from Syria reached the Druze city of Majdal Shams. Several people were killed, some of them in Lebanon, where thousands of Syrian have fled the brutal onslaught by Syrian forces against the ongoing demonstrations for reform in the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The IDF on Saturday turned back Arab Knesset Member Taleb el-Sana, who tried to march on Majdal Shams with party members. 

In Tel Aviv, less than 5,000 left-wing demonstrators staged a protest Saturday night against what they said is Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s rejection of U.S. President Barack Obama’s designs to create the Palestinian Authority as an independent country.

The Prime Minister and president publicly stated opposing views two weeks ago concerning the future borders of a PA state. The president since has backtracked and said that when he said Israel should “return" to the temporary borders that existed from the time of the 1949 Armistice Lines until 1967, he actually meant that those borders should only serve as a basis for negotiations.

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has rejected negotiations and has demanded that Israel accept the borders as a foregone conclusion.