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Clashes on Nakba Day Photo: AP
Clashes on Nakba Day Photo: AP
 
 

Israel warns Syria, Lebanon ahead of 'Naksa Day'

Government says will use all means to prevent attack on sovereignty in face of Palestinian plans to march on borders on Six Day War anniversary Sunday. Lebanese paper reports rallies could be cancelled

Attila Somfalvi
Latest Update: 06.02.11, 00:40 / Israel News

Israel issued a harsh warning to Syria and Lebanon ahead of 'Naksa Day' - the 44th anniversary of the Six Day War. "We shall use all means to prevent an attack on our sovereignty. You will be held accountable," the message said.

'Naksa Day'
Palestinians gear for Sunday march on Israel's borders / Roee Nahmias
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Full story

 

Israel is raising its alert level ahead of Sunday's events, which may involve marches on Israel's borders similar to those held on 'Nakba Day.'

 

Israel has also informed the United Nations it will not tolerate any attack on its sovereignty. The Hezbollah-affiliated Al-Akhbar newspaper reported that Sunday's events may be canceled in light of enormous pressure on Hezbollah and the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF)which may hurt their ability to secure the marches.

 

 

The newspaper reported that organizers of the 'Naksa Day' decided not to voice "partisan slogans" and will rally around the Palestinian flag instead on Sunday. They are also making logistical arrangements including the allocation of 500 buses to transport the refugees.

 

"There is great pressure on Hezbollah," a Palestinian official told the paper. "Hezbollah is in an awkward situation with its Palestinian allies. It wants to send them to the border, but the explosion last week (involving the Italian peacekeeping forces) has made it reconsider the plan on a security and political level."

 

Last Friday, a roadside bomb ripped through a UN convoy carrying Italian peacekeepers in southern Lebanon, wounding six of them.


Protestors storm Israel-Lebanon border on 'Nakba Day' (Photo: AFP)

 

It was further reported that Hezbollah has asked its Palestinian allies "to freeze preparations in light of recent security developments," asking an extension to coordinate security arrangements with the Lebanese army. However, the LAF is also under great pressure, the paper said.

 

Hezbollah representatives asked 'Naksa Day' organizers a 48 hour extension to discuss the matter with the SLA. Meanwhile, UNIFIL is reportedly pressuring the LAF to adhere to Resolution 1701 which stipulates that Palestinians are not allowed to go beyond the Litani River.

 

"One of the solutions being considered is reducing the amount of buses to 300 and increasing the amount of soldiers to avoid border incidents," it was reported. 

 

Lebanese paper As-Safir, also know for it ties with Hezbollah, reported that Lebanese military elements intend to "guard the border with Israel" on Sunday.

 

The LAF is determined to prevent events similar to those which took place during 'Nakba Day' and will take all necessary means to prevent protestors from reaching the border, the paper said.

 

'We must stand by Palestinians'

Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah said on Wednesday, "We must stand beside the deprived Palestinian people. This must remain at the center of our attention as peoples and as a nation.

 

"We must make every effort to help the Palestinian people to return to their lands, especially when they have the will and determination to return. We saw this in Maroun al-Ras and Majdal Shams when the young people exposed bear chests in the face of the occupiers' bullets."

 

Speaking at an Iranian embassy event in Tehran marking 22 years to the death of Grand Ayatollah Khomeini, Nasrallah addressed the families of the 'Nakba Day' victims. "Your sons and daughters blood was not spilt in vain in Maroun al-Ras and the Golan. It was spilt to revive a sacred issue and remind the world of the stolen right."

 

IDF raises alert level

Meanwhile, the Israel Defense Forces are raising alert levels along the Gaza border fearing terrorist activity on Sunday and over the weekend. Uncontrolled fire is to be avoided, the soldiers were told. It is feared that a terrorist might infiltrate a group of civilians and try to use the situation to carry out a terror attack.

 

A senior army source told Ynet that the IDF has been placed in a very sensitive situation. "The army must maintain security on the one hand, and be very careful not to hurt anyone unnecessarily on the other, as this has serious implications in the political level," the source said.

 

He added that the civilian nature of the events creates difficulties in forming accurate forecasts.

 

"There are highly likely signs that everything will end peacefully. Nevertheless, we are gearing ourselves for all options," another military source said.

 

The IDF will also raise alert in the West Bank.

 

Roee Nahmias contributed to this report

 

 

First Published: 06.01.11, 21:14

 

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