The Lebanese branch of the "Universal Jerusalem March," also known as "Land Day," planned for Friday will only reach Beaufort fortress in southern Lebanon instead of heading to the Israeli-Lebanese border as previously reported, Sources close to the march told "The Daily Star" on Saturday.
According to the sources, the route was changed to avoid any clashes with Israeli authorities along the border. The organizers said they estimate some 30,000 protesters will participate in the march on Friday.
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However another source informed "The Daily Star" that the Lebanese branch of the "Universal Jerusalem March" have submitted three alternative routes for the protest to the Lebanese Army for approval, including the Beaufort fortress and the southern towns of Bint Jbeil and Naqoura.
“Given what took place last year, we needed to choose a place that was not so close (to the border) so we don’t repeat last year’s experience,” the source said.
Refrain from border
Following the deadly clashes last year during the Nakba marches to its northern border, Palestinians to refrain from approaching the border.
London based newspaper Al-Sharq al-Awsat reported Friday that the warning was issued in reference to the "Universal Jerusalem March" planned for next Friday to commemorate."
According to sources, Israel reiterated it would treat anyone who approaches the border as an infiltrator, and will act against them decisively. The report said Israel claims the march is organized by hostile elements. In a message to Lebanon, Hamas government in Gaza and the Palestinian Authority, Israel called on Arabs not to allow escalation in the area by allowing marches to the borders.
Security sources confirmed such a message was delivered to the Palestinian Authority. According to them, coordination talks were held with Palestinian security services, with the purpose of avoiding violent riots. Similar talks were also conducted last year before the "Nakba Day" events. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs refused to comment.
The organizers plan to send convoys of vehicles to approach Israel's borders simultaneously from Arab countries and from PA-controlled territories. More than 700 institutions from 64 states are involved directly or indirectly in planning the rally, said the organizers. At the same time of the march, protests are planned outside Israeli embassies in Europe and Arab countries.
It is estimated that due to the fragile political situation in Egypt and Syria, these countries will not authorize marches to the border, but preparations in other countries are underway. In recent days the organizers are using social networks to recruit more protesters to the march.
One of the Facebook pages promoting the event claimed that the purpose of the march is to reach Jerusalem and al-Aqsa mosque. Later it was amended to Jerusalem or "any point closest to it".
One of the event organizers, Palestinian Said Yakin, said the event is meant to be a non-violent protest that will include parliament members, citizens and religious figures from all over the world – including Jews.
"We will not protest violently" Yakin told Ynet earlier this week. "We don't expect the IDF to shoot at protesters, just as it didn't open fire at a million Israeli protesters during this summer's social protest."
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