From the depths of Syria to the first Hebrew city – one of the Palestinian infiltrators who crossed the Syrian border into Israel during "Nakba Day" riots on Sunday didn't return to his country, instead travelling all the way from Majdal Shams to Tel Aviv.
The Syrian clerk, Hassan Hijazi, 28, was handed over to the police via reporter Zvi Yehezkeli.
"We crossed the border and came to the edges of occupied Majdal Shams," Hijazi recounted his journey in an interview with al-Arabiya network.
"The Israeli army waited for us and fired rubber bullets and tear gas. We managed to respond and throw stones," he said.
'I don't want to go back to Syria.' (Photo: Ben Kelmer)
Hijazi said Majdal Shams residents gave him water and tea. "They took an interest in us, but were scared of being investigated by Israeli authorities and therefore tried to convince us to return to Syria."
In an interview with Channel 10, Hijazi – who works for the Syrian Education Ministry – recounted how he made his way from the northern border to central Israel.
"I saw some peace activists, one Jew and a few French Arabs, and I told them – I want to go with you – because my dream is to reach Jaffa, the city where I am from."
Israel-Syria border, on Sunday (Photo: Reuters)
Hijazi said he was not scared of the police, claiming that despite US and Israeli allegations, the protest at the border was not organized by Syrian President Bashar Assad as an attempt to divert attention from the domestic crackdown against anti-regime protesters.
"We organized the protests on Facebook and the regime at first didn’t allow them to take place although we sent representatives," he said. "Hezbollah was the one that pressured the Syrian regime to allow us to hold the protests," he added.
'Symbolic act'Responding to whether he considers the events on Sunday a victory over Israel, Hijazi said, "I think it’s symbolic, because true victory will only come through the military."
Asked what he thinks of Israel, Hijazi presented his identification cards and said: "This is not Israel, this is Palestine – this is my land."
Upon arrival at the police station, Hijazi signaled 'V' with his fingers to the reporters waiting for him at the entrance.
"This country has to be non-Jewish, it needs to be for Jews and also for all the Muslims, so we need this country to be large," he said.
"I don't want to go back to Syria," Hijazi added, "I want to stay here in my village, where my father and grandfather were born.
"But Syria is a good country for Palestinians and I don’t know what the Israeli government would do to us. I want to stay here and bring my family here," he noted.
When asked what he thought of President Assad, who has ordered a violent crackdown against anti-regime protesters, Hijazi said solemnly, "He is a good president."
'Death does not scare us'
During his conversation with reporters, two police officers arrived and escorted him into the station. "You entered Israel illegally, you are illegally here and therefore you are being detained in the station," one of the officers explained to Hijazi in English.
Another Palestinian refugee who infiltrated Israel on Sunday and returned to Syria, said in a phone conversation with Ynet, "We will continue our struggle until we get what we want, which is the right of return that Israel took from us.
"Next time we cross the border we'll be armed and respond to IDF fire without hesitation or fear, because yesterday they killed more than eight martyrs, " he said.
The man thanked the people of Majdal Shams for their hospitality, adding, "I inhaled the air of my land, and the government of Israel should give us back what we deserve. If it doesn’t, it will suffer by thousands of young people who are willing to sacrifice their lives in order to fulfill their dream. Death does not scare us," he concluded.
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