IDF gears up for Global March to Jerusalem
The IDF is gearing up to a possible storming of Israeli borders as part of the Global March to Jerusalem set for Friday, March 30. Israel has issued a clear warning to Arab states and the Palestinian Authority against allowing the march.
Soldiers deployed along Israel's borders have been instructed to increase their level of alert. IDF preparations are based on the "Summer Seeds" operation which was meant to tackle any flare-up following last year's Palestinian statehood bid. Israel feared major Arab and Palestinian riots at the time.
The troops will have at their disposal the crowd-dispersal means purchased to handle the UN bid.
Several battalions have also been secured as auxiliary forces if a need for them arises.
Since last year's violent Nakba Day and Naksa Day events, the IDF's Engineering Corps has performed upgrades along Israel's border with Syria. The old fence has been replaced and potholes have been dug along the border.
The forces will be instructed to prevent any violation of Israeli sovereignty with minimum harm to protesters, should they approach the border. Security officials have coordinated efforts with the Palestinian security forces in order to prevent any spillage into Israel.
Over the weekend, the London-based al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper reported that Israel sent a warning to the governments of Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Hamas in Gaza and the Palestinian Authority following the Nakba and Naksa day events. Israel demanded that they not to allow marches on its borders which could escalate the situation in the region.
The Jordanian government spokesman said in response that "Jordan has not received any official message from Israel on the prevention of the Global March to Jerusalem" adding that the government cannot prevent people from expressing demands so long as they are conveyed in an non-violent matter.
Jordan's Muslim Brotherhood movement stressed that the march will not be violent and that its men will not attempt to cross the borders.
Over the weekend, Global March participants from Asia held a demonstration outside the Israeli embassy in Turkey demanding to "free Palestine from the Israeli occupation." An Iranian artist said that the Palestinian issue is the most important issue for mankind.
A Turkish activist said that "we are reminded of what the Ayatollah Khamenei said; that were every Muslim to throw a bucket of water at the Israeli entity, it would sink." The activist called on all Muslims to follow Khamenei's path in order to free Palestine.
Arab media have been reporting that the first group from the Asian convoy arrived in Damascus on Saturday in order to take part in the protest.
Activists involved with the organization of the march said that another group will arrive in Syria via land from 15 Asian countries. It was further reported that a marches will begin in Syria in the next few days.
Meanwhile, Israel's Higher Arab Monitoring Committee is planning on holding the annual Land Day events this weekend. Organizers have decided that the Palestinian flag will be the only flag to be flown and it will be flown at all events.
They have decided that this year's events which will take place on Friday will be commemorated under the heading "Save the lands and prevent Judaization of Jerusalem." Thousands are set to take part in the main parade in Dir Hana in the lower Galilee.
Monitoring Committee chairman Muhammad Zidan told Ynet that "the subject of lands was very sensitive and important and we must continue in our struggle against land expropriation in the sector.
"Land Day reminds us of the martyrs who have fallen and are deserved to be remembered." Zidan added: "We have demanded that the police not enter Arab towns on Land Day so that order will be maintained without rioting."
A protest march is set to set out from the Jaffa port on Saturday and according to organizers, some 6,000 people are expected to take part.
Northern District Police Spokesman Chief Superintendent Yehuda Maman told Ynet about the police's preparations for the Land Day events. "Like every year, police forces will remain outside the Arab villages," he said. Police officers are in constant communication with the Arab sector leadership in efforts to maintain a calm atmosphere. We will allow parades but will not allow riots or law breaking."