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Friday, March 23, 2012

Land Day march rerouted, will not reach border with Israel

A banner promoting Land Day on a wall in the southern city of Sidon, Lebanon, Tuesday, March 20, 2012. (The Daily Star/Mohammed Zaatari)

BEIRUT: Organizers of the Land Day march by Palestinians decided Friday to change the route of the procession so that it concludes at Beaufort Castle, east of Nabatiyeh instead of the Israeli-Lebanese border, as was originally announced.

Sources close to Global March to Jerusalem said that participants in the 26th annual Land Day protest, scheduled for March 30, will march from Palestinian refugee camps, converge and head toward Beaufort Castle, the Crusader fortress that served as a military base of operations for Israeli troops during Israel's occupation of south Lebanon.

The sources attributed the change of route to the organizers' desire to avoid any violation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701, which aims to prevent Lebanese-Israeli friction in border areas.

They added that organizers do not want to strain their relationship with the Lebanese army or the U.N. Interim Forces in Lebanon.

The sources also made clear that they wanted to spare Palestinian lives. Israeli forces shot dead 10 Palestinians and wounded 112 others in May 2011, when part of a large group of Palestinians protesting on the occasion of the 63rd anniversary of their expulsion from their homeland approached the barbed wire near the border town of Maroun al-Ras, pelting Israeli soldiers with stones and trying to climb the barbed wire and hang Palestinian flags.

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