Middle Eastern leaders have begun to react to yesterday’s events around Israel and the Occupied Territories which saw the death of 16 protesters as well as hundreds injured. Across the West Bank and Gaza thousands took to the street to commemorate al Nakba and demand an end to Israeli occupation of Palestine. Marches by Palestinian refugees to the Israeli border in Lebanon, Egypt, and Syria resulted in instances of protesters breaching the international borders. Israel forces responded with live gunfire resulting in many of the deaths reported.
In response Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu has denounced the protests stating that the protests were not about 1967 borders or the right of return of refugee’s but questioned “the very existence of Israel”. Netanyahu defended the action of the Israeli military, saying that Israel was determined to defend its sovereignty. Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak has also defended the actions of the military placing blame for the deaths with those who crossed the border and those who sent them. He warned that such instances were just the beginning of similar problems in the future.
Hamas spokesman Tahir al Nunu, reacting to yesterday’s events, claimed that the actions of the Israeli military showed Israel’s confusion and helplessness in the face of the wave of popular movements that have swept the Middle East. Al Nanu predicted the days events as a turning point for Israel occupation of Palestine. Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas has said that protester “precious blood will not be wasted” adding that “it was spilt for the sake of our nations freedom”.
Hezbollah leader, Hassan Nasrallah, has also praised the actions of the protesters and predicted their right of return will be fulfilled in the near future. “Your message, loud and clear, to the enemy is that you will liberate your lands, that the fate of this entity (Israel) is demise, and that no initiatives, treaties or borders will protect it. You, the honorable, have given the Nakba new meaning” he said. Iranian Foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi has condemned the killing of protesters by the Israeli military and called on the international community to hold it accountable.
Israeli and Lebanese Missions to the United Nations have filed mutual complaints against each other to the UN Security Council. Lebanon claims the Israel military aggressed on Lebanese territory and fired shots into the town of Moroun a Ras near the Lebanese Israeli border. Israel in return claims the move on Israeli borders by protesters showed a clear disregard for Israeli sovereignty.
(occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com / 16.05.2011)