Apr
02

Global March to Jerusalem Fizzles

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Various media are reporting that the Global March to Jerusalem failed to realize its objective of mobilizing huge numbers of protestors on Israel borders on Friday. According to one somewhat polemical but accurate report:

It was anticipated that as many as two million Arabs and foreign pro-Palestinian activists would storm Israel’s borders from all sides and infiltrate Jerusalem in order to protest the “Judaization” of the city. Even Israel was taking the threat seriously, and put a large amount of reserve military forces on alert for possible call-up. But in the end, the Global March to Jerusalem was a dud. Several thousand people did gather at protest sites in Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Gaza and the Palestinian Authority-controlled areas of Judea and Samaria. But the numbers were far lighter than originally threatened, and most Israelis were barely aware that there was a protest happening. The most notable of the protests outside Israel’s borders happened in neighboring Jordan, but only because those few Jews who had chosen to side with their nation’s enemies were nevertheless attacked by local Muslims. A delegation from the anti-Zionist Neturei Karta movement, most of them Americans, attended the protests in Jordan and Lebanon. At the start of the event in Jordan, four Neturei Karta members were beaten by Jordanian Arabs before being rescued by other participants. A handful of Jordanian youth did try to cross the border into Israel, but were stopped by Jordanian police. It was estimated that around 30,000-40,000 people gathered in Jordan. In Lebanon no more than 7,000 gathered at the Beaufort Crusader fortress near Israel’s northern border to hear fiery speeches by Hizballah, Hamas and Palestinian Authority officials. The turnout in war-torn Syria was negligible, with just a few hundred gathering in Damascus to chant anti-Israel slogans. The situation was a bit more tense in Gaza and the Palestinian-controlled parts of Judea and Samaria. In Gaza, thousands of Arab protesters attempted to approach the security fence separating the Hamas-ruled coastal strip from southern Israel. At least 29 people were wounded and one man was killed in clashes with Israeli soldiers stationed along the security fence. In the so-called “West Bank,” a handful of protesters were wounded, and Israeli forces arrested 34 violent activists. The most intense action occurred at the Kalandiya checkpoint north of Jerusalem, where demonstrators hurled stones and firebombs at Israeli soldiers, who responded with a variety of crowd control weapons, including tear gas, sound blasts and foul-smelling water. Israeli military officials said that the demonstrations had not been particularly severe, and were pleased with the army’s handling of the situation. Despite the low casualty rate and the meager turnout for the “Land Day” events, Amnesty International still felt the need to issue a public condemnation over what it called Israel’s use of “excessive force” against the demonstrators. Unwilling to admit that their stunt had largely fizzled into small localized protests, the organizers of the Global March to Jerusalem declared it a great success. Lead coordinator Ribhi Halloum claimed that activists from 84 nations had participated, and that the number of countries represented was far more important than the overall number of participants.   “

As the above report notes, the March organizers have claimed that the event was a success by apparently redefining its objectives stating “The organizers, …. do not pay great attention to the number of participants in the rallies, but rather to the number of countries joining the protests, as that reflects the support for Palestine.”

The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA)  has published a report titled “The Global March to Jerusalem: Part of the International Campaign to Delegitimize Israel” by analyst Ehud Rosen. The  conclusions of the report are as follows:

  • Over the past few years there has been a Palestinian campaign focusing on the so-called “Judaization” of Jerusalem. A number of related topics have been raised recently in what appears to be an orchestrated campaign initiated by leading figures in the PA, Hamas, and Muslim Brotherhood.
  • In January 2012, the European Preparatory Committee for the Global March to Jerusalem published an invitation for participation and support. The organizers are aiming to hold marches to Jerusalem “or the nearest point to it” on March 30, to coincide with the annual Palestinian “Land Day.” Originally, marches were planned in Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and the four neighboring countries: Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria.
  • The European Preparatory Committee is comprised of members of UK Muslim Brotherhood circles and a member of the Free Gaza movement (founded by the International Solidarity Movement, ISM), this time joined by the anti-imperialist camp. The original idea is said to have come from participants in the December 2010 “Asia to Gaza Solidarity Caravan.”
  • In February 2012, various national committees began their preparations, including in Jordan, Turkey, Pakistan, Lebanon, and Iran. More than twenty Palestinian organizations have endorsed the march.
  • It is hard to predict the results of these preparations. However, the participation of Sunni-Islamist circles is increasing, encouraged by their rise due to the Arab Spring. Fatah, the PLO, and the PA are becoming more involved as well, as are more Islamist jihadi forces and far-right European elements.

Read the entire report here.

A post from February reported on a conference held by the Jamaat-e-Islami (JEI) Pakistan to discuss preparations for the march where conference speakers claimed that mosques in Jerusalem and Medina are “Under Direct Threat of Jewish Designs” and one speaker described Israel as a “cancer. Others posts discussed planning by the U.K. Muslim Brotherhood for the march and another planning conference that took place in Istanbul. Yet another post discussed the invitation to the march that was posted on a far-left website. As noted in that post, six of the twelve individuals listed as sponsoring/endorsing the initiative are either leaders in or closely tied to the Global Brotherhood.

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