Social-networking sites, specifically Facebook, are being used to promote a campaign that appears to target the very existence of Israel, with hundreds of thousands worldwide seeking to join in a plan to “return” to and take over the original homes of their families in “Palestine” on May 15.
According to an in-depth report by L. Barkan, a research fellow at the Middle East Media Research Institute, which monitors and analyzes media reports throughout the Middle East, the idea being circulated is “for millions of Palestinian refugees to march en masse in return to the original homes of their families in Israel.”
The movement’s plans call for this to be much more than just a visit, however.
“All the families of Jewish settlers in the Galilee area, including in the areas of Safed, Tiberias, and all the way down to Acre, must proceed to the port of Haifa and board ships back to their countries of origin in Europe,” explained one posting that is part of the campaign.
It provided instructions for others to report to other ports – all by the middle of March, a deadline long past.
“The message also warned that anyone trying to take ‘archeological artifacts [or anything belonging] to the Palestinian heritage, even a single ball of falafel, will be pursued and arrested by Interpol in his new place of residence,’” the report said.
One of the Facebook pages soliciting participants in what apparently would be an invasion and attempted overthrow of the region’s existing government has been removed by the Facebook administration, but not before collecting some 350,000 endorsements from readers. Other pages remain.
According to MEMRI, some of the Facebook pages “stress that the activities are meant to be peaceful and unarmed, while others hint at violence and armed resistance.”
“It also has gained the support of Palestinian officials, through the PLO Department of Expatriate Affairs … which has called on Palestinians living abroad to participate in the march and to publicize it among the Palestinian communities and organizations worldwide,” the MEMRI report said.
Timetables to coordinate the events have been posted by administrators who explain it is the moral and legal right of refugees to return to their homes.
One page, “The 2011 March of Return,” said, “The goal of [the Facebook] group … is to organize a march of millions, who, on May 15, 2011, will realize the Right of Return to Palestine in deed as well as in word.”
It explains marchers will come from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
“The Right of Return is a legal, political, human, moral, and religious right that is irrevocable and unlimited in time, and all must work toward realizing it. We call for the realization of this right through the mass return of millions of Palestinians to historical Palestine, such that every refugee and displaced person will return to his land and to the home from which he was expelled. This will be the first step toward implementing … Resolution 194, which will be followed by further steps, such as awarding reparations to the returned refugees and recognizing heir rights,” the site advocates.
MEMRI documents that a page titled, “The Palestinian Refugees’ Revolution (The Advance of the Millions),” warned, “We will reach out our hand and build a bridge that will bring us to our green land, to our territorial waters, to the beautiful Mediterranean Sea, to our desert … to the beautiful Galilee, to Jerusalem, our proud capital, to the neighborhoods of Nablus, Ramallah, and Jenin, to the hills of Lod and Ramla, and to all the [other] places … We will return, and soon. Long live our cause. May the state of the sons of Zion fall.”
Also, on the page called “The Third Palestinian Intifada” was the warning there could be violence.
“After the Tunisian, Egyptian, and Libyan intifadas, the time has come for the Palestinian intifada. The first Palestinian intifada was in 1987 and the second in 2000, but the third Palestinian intifada [will commence] on May 15, 2011,” it said, according to MEMRI’s documentation.
“It should be noted that, while urging the public to join the mass demonstrations on May 15, the page administrators also hinted at a coming war on the Jews and called on the readers to prepare for martyrdom,” Barkan’s report confirmed.
“For example, they posted a well-known hadith, which states that the Day of Judgment will only come after the Muslims fight the Jews and vanquish them: ‘The hour [of Judgment] will not come before the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them.’”
Another message on the page states, “Paradise calls you. I ask everyone to come out on May 15. Do not say ‘I can’t.’ For once [in your life], at least, do something to help the Muslims … martyrdom calls you.”
Another site warned against using slogans such as “Destroying the Zionist Entity” and instead talked about returning “to the homes from which we were expelled, nothing more.
“That is a human and moral slogan that can rally all the people of the world to our assistance.”
Another page posted the plans: “On Sunday, May 15, after the noon prayers, ‘the holy advance will start and the Intifada will be ignited… On this day, all the returning [refugees] will set forth, and the Third Palestinian Intifada will commence, with the support of all the free people in the world.’”
The page lists the destinations of the march: In the West Bank, participants will march on the checkpoints and settlements; in Gaza, on the checkpoints and border crossings; within “the 1948 territories,” toward cities and villages destroyed in the 1948 war; in Lebanon, toward Palestine by land and by sea; in Jordan, toward three areas on the border; in Syria, towards the Golan border; in Egypt, toward the Rafah border and toward the coast of Palestine by ship.
May 15 was picked, the pages explain, because it is the 63rd anniversary of the founding of Israel in 1948.
Warned another page, according to MEMRI, “We will have a single slogan: ‘End the occupation.’ We will put up our tents everywhere, and operate a radio station of the sit-down demonstration, broadcasting national songs not associated with any political faction. We will use pots and spoons to make a racket at night, and when we grow tired, we will blow whistles. We will not leave until the occupation leaves.”
Recommended tools to be used?
“A cloth and some vinegar and lemon as protection from tear gas; an aluminum pot and goggles to protect from tear-gas bombs and rubber bullets; an olive branch to signify the peaceful character of the protest; cans of spray paint for spraying on the faceguards of the soldiers’ helmets in case of a confrontation; a sleeping bag and a first aid kit; water and soap for pouring on the tires of military jeeps to make them skid.”
WND columnist Nat Hentoff, a nationally known authority on the First Amendment and Bill of Rights, cited the long history of violent attacks on Jews such as the recent slaying of a family including a three-month-old baby.
He said he fears that even a two-state solution would be fragile because of the Palestinians’ “bottomless hatred of Jews.”