SIDON, Lebanon: Palestinians in Lebanon will commemorate Land Day inside refugee camps this weekend, in deference to local concerns and to prepare for May’s Nakba Day.
Last year, a Land Day march to the border was canceled at the last minute due to security concerns. March 30 marks a violent 1976 crackdown on Palestinians protesting planned Israeli land confiscation.
The Israeli army strengthened its presence along its northern border with Lebanon Friday ahead of the event,” security sources told The Daily Star.
For Palestinians, May 15 – Nakba Day – marks their displacement from Palestine and the creation of the state of Israel. In 2011, Israeli troops shot at protesters who rushed the border at the village of Maroun al-Ras in a Nakba Day march, killing 10.
Hamas called for a sit-in Sunday in Ain al-Hilweh, and Hamas official Yasser al-Ali said the committee organizing a march toward the border had been advised by political and security officials against actions outside the camps “because of the critical situation in Lebanon and the region.”
Fouad Othman, an official with the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, agreed that major events had been postponed until Nakba Day. “On that day our grandfathers left and that day should also be the day when their grandsons return,” he said.
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine held a Friday sit-in in front of UNRWA headquarters at the southern Bass camp, and Hamas held a rally in the camp as well.
The Palestine Liberation Organization held a sit-in at its headquarters in Ain al-Hilweh. Abdullah al-Dannan, a PFLP official, said that “although there are efforts to force our people to submit to Zionist aggression and negotiations on settlements, our Palestinian people are still resisting these efforts and normalization with the Israeli enemy thanks to their belief in their rights and their nation.”
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on March 30, 2013, on page 3.