Two million set for ‘March on Jerusalem’ Friday, organizer claims

Israel has urged neighboring states not to let participants reach its borders

Elhanan Miller is the former Arab affairs reporter for The Times of Israel

Palestinian protesters in Jerusalem (photo credit: Sliman Khadr/Flash90)
Palestinian protesters in Jerusalem (photo credit: Sliman Khadr/Flash90)

Two million Arab and international protesters will march toward the borders of Israel and take part in activities designed to highlight Jerusalem’s Arab character on Friday, the event organizer claims.

Ribhi Haloum, general coordinator of the “Global March to Jerusalem,” said in a press statement that volunteers from 80 countries will take part in the march. Jordan and Lebanon will send protesters to the border, whereas Egypt will organize a solidarity marathon from Cairo University to the pyramids in Giza and a large rally at Al-Azhar University.

The organizers emphasized the peaceful nature of the march, which will coincide with Land Day, an annual day of commemoration marked by Arab citizens of Israel to protest land confiscation.

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But judging by the event’s Facebook page, at least some supporters are demanding concrete action on Jerusalem.

“What will you do after the march? Liberate it!” wrote commentator Muhammad Malkawi. Other talkbackers asked about solidarity activities in Sudan or Iraq.

Global March to Jerusalem Facebook page (photo credit: Facebook screen grab)
Global March to Jerusalem Facebook page (photo credit: Facebook screen grab)

In Jordan, protesters will be bused from downtown Amman to Maghtis in the Jordan Valley, across the border from kibbutz Beit Ha’arava. They will conduct Friday prayers at the border. In Lebanon, demonstrators will congregate at the Beaufort Castle, not far from the Israeli town of Metula.

According to the event’s Facebook page, Syrian Palestinians will organize activities “in accordance with the domestic situation there.” Jordanian daily A-Dustour reported Monday that activists have landed in Syria aboard Iranian airplanes.

The march organizers also boast the participation of a Neturei Karta delegation, an ultra-Orthodox group that opposes Zionism.

Israel has warned a number of Arab states against the march, preparing the IDF for possible confrontation with protesters attempting to cross the border.

Israel claims the march is organized by hostile elements and last week sent messages directly or indirectly to Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, the Hamas government in Gaza and the Palestinian Authority, calling on them not to allow escalation in the area by allowing marches to the borders.

Organizers claim more than 700 institutions from 64 states are involved in the rally. Protests are also planned to take place outside Israeli embassies in Europe and Arab countries.


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