Kharita –

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By Matthew Cassel on

In Maroun al-Ras, the village where the protest was held, buses couldnt reach the top so protesters, young and old, were forced to walk up the mountain to reach the protest site.

The body of Mohammed al-Fandi is carried up the mountain to Maroun al-Ras after he was killed by Israeli gunfire while protesting at the border fence in the valley below.

Palestinian refugees further up the mountain, look on as others protest at the border fence in the valley below.

>> See other images of March of Return.

May 17, 2011

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The Guardian

by Matthew CasselMay 16, 2011

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Lebanese soldiers patrol next to Palestinian refugees during demonstrations to mark the 63rd anniversary of Nakba Day at the Lebanese-Israeli border in Maroun al-Ras, 15 May 2011. Photograph: Hassan Bahsoun/EPA

Climbing up the mountain to reach the Palestinian right-of-return protest in Maroun al-Ras in south Lebanon on Sunday felt a bit like being back in Tahrir Square.

The thousands of mostly Palestinian refugees were smiling as they joked about the strenuous climb, and helped each other up the mountain to reach the site where they were going to stage their demonstration. Some knew it could even be dangerous, but that didnt matter as much as the rare opportunity to join together and call for their rights.

The small elevated Lebanese village just overlooking the border with Israel became a massive parking lot as buses carrying Palestinian refugees and Lebanese from across Lebanon converged for a protest commemorating what Israeli historian Ilan Papp calls the ethnic cleansing by Zionist militias of more than 700,000 Palestinians from their lands and homes in 1948 what Palestinians refer to as the Nakba, or catastrophe. Large buses had difficulties reaching the top of the mountain, and rather than wait, protesters chose to make the half-mile climb by foot.

Men and women, young and old, secular and religious, were all present. This was the first time in 63 years that Palestinian refugees would go to the border in their tens of thousands and call for their right to return home. For most, it was their first time even seeing the land that theyve grown up hearing described in precise detail through the popular stories of elders old enough to remember life in what is today considered Israel.


t notes

May 17, 2011

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Ive been wearing a hanzala around my neck for about 8 years now. When asked about it, I like to end my explanation with: It became the symbol of the right to return for Palestinian refugees. Living in London and meeting people from all over the world, I got to explain my necklace so many times but I always find it weird when I have to explain it to a Lebanese. I become cynical and say something like: You know that there are Palestinian refugees living in Lebanon, right?

On Sunday May 15, the day of the Nakba commemoration (some called it The Third Intifada), I really understood what it means to be a Palestinian refugee in Lebanon: to stand so close to home but never allowed an entry and to be shot at from inside and outside the border. The Palestinians are treated as second class citizen, they are considered a threat, a bunch of untrustworthy extremists, they are dehumanized because thats the only way their oppressors can justify their acts.


The army,the government and the factions canceled the 5 june march of return.But grassroots actions were prepared informally, and people are trying to go to the south presently.Follow the events in this twitter account:!/ilaFalasteen

The Human Province


May 16, 2011

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Yesterday, I spent the day at Maroun al-Ras on the Lebanese border with Israel. Before I get to some of the reactions Ive read about the event and some of the questions raised by it, Id like to discuss the event itself.

Yesterday, Palestinians around the world commemorated the Nakba, which is the catastrophe of the dispossession of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians upon the creation of Israel. I left from the Mar Elias camp in Beirut in a bus that had been rented by a young Palestinian activist who teaches physical education in a Palestinian camp. The passengers were Palestinians with a mixture of Lebanese, Bahraini and European companions. Everyone pitched in for the bus, and despite some organizational troubles, we set off on Sunday morning for the border.



By Sharmine Narwani

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

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You know what scares Israel more than Arab armies or Iranian nukes? Palestinian refugees simply walking home. Seen on Twitter on Nakba Day

Sunday marked the Nakba or day of catastrophe in Arabic referring to the 1948 declaration of Israel when more than 700,000 Palestinian civilians were made homeless overnight.

In remembrance of the Nakba, last weekend thousands of Palestinians and their supporters marched from Syria (video), Gaza, Jordan, the West Bank, Egypt and Lebanon toward Israels borders, and were in most cases thwarted, sometimes violently, from reaching their destination by Arab security forces.


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