Israel braced for further Palestinian protests
Israel is bracing for a fresh confrontation on its borders after a
Facebook campaign urging Palestinian refugees to march on
Jerusalem on Friday got tens of thousands of supporters.
Palestinians gather at the Rafah border between Egypt and the
southern Gaza Strip Photo: AFP
By Adrian Blomfield, Jerusalem 5:48PM BST 19 May 2011
The Telegraph UK
Activists urged their supporters to mass on all of Israel's
frontiers at the end of noon prayers as they seek to force the
issue of Palestinian refugees back onto the world agenda.
Launched last Sunday, the campaign began with bloodshed as 14
refugees and their supporters were shot dead as they attempted to
force their way through Israeli border fences from Lebanon and
In anticipation of a second attempt to storm the borders, Israeli
troops laid new barbed-wire along its side of a fence marking the
ceasefire line between Syria and the occupied Golan Heights,
seized by Israel during the Six Day War of 1967.
Soldiers were also seen working with mine detectors. In recent
days, the military has reportedly been considering laying down
additional mines along the "Alpha Line" after some 130 protesters
managed to cut through the fence last Sunday.
One Palestinian infiltrator was even able to reach his old family
home in Jaffa, south of Tel Aviv, before turning himself into
Israeli police, saying he had fulfilled a lifelong ambition.
More than 700,000 Palestinians fled or were forced from their
homes in a war that erupted as Israel was being created in 1948.
Millions more have been born into the world's oldest refugee
Sunday's infiltration has caused some fears in the Israeli
establishment that a long-feared "doomsday scenario", under which
Israel faces an invasion not from Arab armies but from unarmed
refugees, may be unfolding.
A mass show of force by the refugees, who have been inspired by
popular revolts elsewhere to begin a Palestinian "Arab Spring" is
unlikely on Friday.
Some activists have urged their supporters to wait until either
next month, or even until September when Palestinian leaders seek
UN recognition of statehood, before launching protests in earnest.
Under Israeli pressure, Facebook removed a website calling for a
third Palestinian intifada, or uprising, after it drew more than
The growing tension comes as Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime
minister, arrives in Washington on a high-profile visit that will
see him make an address to Congress next week in which he is
expected to unveil a new plan to relaunch stalled negotiations
with the Palestinian leadership.
He is expected to meet President Barack Obama on Friday.
The two men have had strained relations in the past but, to Arab
anger and despite lack of progress on the Middle East peace
process, ties have improved.
This week, the White House defended Israel's response to Sunday's