Friday, March 30, 2012

Israel prepares for mass protests

Published: March. 29, 2012 at 7:45 AM

JERUSALEPalestinian protesters shout slogans as they gather in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza on Feb. 24 during a demonstration to show solidarity for Jerusalem's al-Aqsa Masjid compound. Clashes briefly broke out between Israeli police and "hundreds" of Palestinian stone-throwers at the flashpoint compound, police said. UPI/Ismael Mohamad 
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 March 29 (UPI) -- Israel is gearing up to confront attempts by thousands of Palestinian and Arab demonstrators to breach its borders to protest land policies, officials said.
Thousands are expected to participate in the Global March to Jerusalem organized by pro-Palestinian organizations abroad that have called on protesters to march on Israel's borders with Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Gaza and the West Bank Friday as part of Land Day demonstrations opposing Israeli policies.
Land Day also marks the anniversary of the 1976 deaths of six demonstrators killed by security forces in similar protests.
Israel has warned it will treat anyone who attempts to approach its borders as an infiltrator and will act decisively and determinedly, Israel Radio said Thursday.
In recent days Israeli Army and security officials have met with their Palestinian counterparts to coordinate the West Bank protests and ensure they remain within Palestinian-controlled areas, the report said.
Palestinians have called a protest at the Kalandia checkpoint north of Jerusalem and at Rachel's Tomb outside the entrance to Bethlehem, the report said.
The army and police have also beefed up their presence along Israel's northern and southern borders, the report said.
The Lebanese paper The Daily Star said scores of international protesters arrived in Lebanon Wednesday to participate in Friday's march. The report said the Lebanese Army has coordinated the route with the protesters, who plan to rally in a compound near Israel's border.
Jordan has also set up a site for the protests that overlooks Jerusalem and is where Jesus is believed to have been baptized, said.
Earlier this week Haaretz reported major disagreements have developed between the organizers of Friday's protests due to Iran's involvement. The paper said the dispute erupted after a group of pro-Palestinian activists from East Asia and some Arab countries visited Tehran and met with a senior adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who promised his country's support.
The Jerusalem Post said thousands of pro-Palestinian activists plan to fly into Israel at staggered times April 15 and 16 to protest Israeli policies.

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