Naksa anniversary opens Syria front to returnees
The confrontation Sunday by young Syrians and Palestinians against Israeli occupation soldiers in the occupied Golan Heights ( 23 killed and more than 350 wounded according to Reuters) gave the Naksa anniversary an extra meaning when unarmed men faced off Israel’s killing machine in response to calls to march to the border to mark the anniversary of Israel’s usurpation of their land – a call for return via the gates of the occupied Golan Heights, which will turn into an open-ended gathering place for Syrian-Palestinian sit-ins that already attracted thousands of young Syrians and Palestinians since Sunday evening, prompting Israel to accuse Damascus of responsibility, while Washington supported the carnage and regarded it as legitimate self-defense.
In Lebanon, Palestinian refugees were unable to head to their occupied territories to mark the fall of the West Bank and Gaza in the hands of Israeli occupation forces in 1967 as Lebanese authorities - keen to avoid a repeat of the May 15 border massacreprevented them from approaching the frontier with Israel. Instead, a measure that left them frustrated despite attempts carried out by a handful of young men.
An-Nahar: 23 killed, 600 wounded on Golan Heights border
Netanyahu blames Damascus, Washington condemns "provocation"
In the second event in a month, The Arab citizen emerged as a new political player outside the context of the traditional Arab-Israeli political game when Palestinians Sunday marked the 44th anniversary of the Naksa by peaceful demonstrations and marches that ran into the Israeli Army in occupied Majdal Shams - Syria’s occupied Golan Heights. Moreover, protesters failed to reach the south Lebanon border en masse. A symbolic number which tried to force its way to the frontier had been turned back for [security] considerations.
The Palestinian message has arrived – a message that they [Palestinians] are a people who had been forcibly deported from their land and whose cause is wider and more comprehensive than border disputes around the occupied West Bank, or conditions to establish a state on some of their land. The confrontations in the Golan Heights, which also witnessed Syrian participation, left 20 protesters killed and hundreds wounded.
As a result of the events, Israel put the blame on Damascus, saying the Syrian regime is seeking to divert attention from the anti-Assad protests.
In Washington, a State Department statement said the U.S. calls on all parties to exercise restraint and avoid provocative actions.
Al-Mustaqbal: After agreement on 8 portfolios for the general, Mikati awaits Aoun’s list, hints again of "fait accompli" government
The weekend spent by President Michel Sleiman at his summer home in Amsheet did not bring optimism in terms of the government formation process despite word spreading fast by the March 8 political camp that a Cabinet lineup could be announced as early as Tuesday "afternoon.”
In fact, pessimism about an imminent government formation increased anew in the past few hours in parallel with a statement issued by Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati’s office late Sunday that said the he had not yet received the parliamentary blocs’ preference for any candidates on the Cabinet list. Mikati urged all parties to “translate intentions of positive action."
Al-Mustaqbal cited sources as saying that optimism spread by Free Patriotic Movement Leader Michel Aoun had been exaggerated. The sources said Mikati’s statement came in response to remarks made by MP Alain Aoun in which he said Aoun had handed in the list of names he proposes for the new government.
Al-Akhbar: Mikati against appointing Nahhas Cabinet minister
Whenever the Free Patriotic Movement injects a dose of optimism into Lebanon, pessimism surfaces from the office of Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati, and vice versa.
Several MPs from the Free Patriotic Movement attacked Mikati, accusing him of not wanting to form a government.
Meanwhile, sources following up on the Cabinet formation said Mikati rejects the reappointment of caretaker Telecoms Minister Charbel Nahhas in the new government, particularly following the dispute over cellular equipment stored on the second floor of a Telecoms Ministry building.
The sources said Mikati will make his point when the time comes to discuss Cabinet portfolios, adding that if Nahhas were to be reappointed, it would not be in the role of telecoms minister.