TEL AVIV – Israel is concerned that elements of the so-called Global March to Jerusalem slated for Friday will attempt to storm the Jewish state’s borders to provoke a confrontation amid reports Iranian-backed jihad groups are involved in planning the event.
U.S. endorsers of the Global March include President Obama’s controversial former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr.; Cornel West, a longtime friend of Obama who served as an adviser to the president’s 2008 campaign; and Medea Benjamin, co-founder of the anti-war group Code Pink.
Weather Underground founder Bill Ayers, a close associate of Obama for years, helped originate the concept of creating border chaos for Israel in 2009.
According to reports, Iran is also heavily involved in organizing the march.
The activists plan to march to several of Israel’s borders Friday to “demand freedom for Jerusalem and its people and to put an end to the Apartheid, ethnic cleansing and Judaisation policies affecting the people, land and sanctity of Jerusalem.”
Hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists that are part of dozens of international delegations began arriving in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan yesterday.
The Lebanese portion of the march is reportedly being fully coordinated with Lebanese security forces, some branches of which are known to include Hezbollah supporters.
While protest organizers stressed the event will remain peaceful, Israel is concerned about an element of the march that may be coordinating with Iran, Syria and Hezbollah, according to defense officials here.
Yesterday, citing Global March sources, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported some activists fear the event could get out of control due to the involvement of outside forces.
Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has expressed support for the march, reportedly telling the country’s Fars news agency the event is consistent with Iran’s “resistance operations” targeting Israel.
The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, or ITIC, at Israel’s Center for Special Studies presented evidence that Iran and Palestinian terrorists have been involved in planning the march.
The ITIC reported a local committee was appointed in Iran to make preparations for the marches, called The Board of the Global [March] to Jerusalem in Iran. It names two Iranian planners who are “handled and directed by the Iranian regime.”
In Lebanon, Iranian-backed Hezbollah and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad are involved in organizing the march, ITIC found. Sheikh Abd al-Majid Omar, the Hezbollah representative, and Abu Imad al-Rifa’i, from the PIJ, participated in the march planning meeting which took place on February 21, 2012 in Hamas headquarters in a southern suburb of Beirut.
U.S. radicals originate Israel border chaos
The concept of provoking border chaos bears the handiwork of U.S. radical activists.
Beginning in 2010, international activists attempted to use flotillas to break Israel’s naval blockade of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.
In May 2010, a flotilla organized by the Free Gaza Movement and the Hamas-affiliated Turkish Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief was raided by Israel, resulting in deadly clashes in which nine activists were killed.
Activist leaders in the Free Gaza Movement include Ayers and his wife, former Weather Underground leader Bernardine Dohrn.
Ayers, Dohrn and Code Pink activists led several Free Gaza Movement initiatives, including attempted marches into the Gaza Strip.
The activists were behind provoking chaos on the streets of Egypt in December 2009 and January 2010 in an attempt to enter the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip to join in solidarity with the territory’s population and leadership.
That protest marked the first attempt to reach Gaza or assault Israel’s borders.
The Gaza saga began when the radicals arrived in Egypt Dec. 31, 2009. Code Pink’s Jodie Evans appealed to Suzanne Mubarak, the wife of Egypt’s president at the time, to allow some 1,400 activists to cross from Egypt into neighboring Gaza to march there, deliver humanitarian aid and stage a protest at an Israeli border crossing with thousands of Palestinian Gazans. Egypt’s Interior Ministry had said the march was illegal and a threat to national security.
Mubarak reportedly offered to allow only 100 activists to cross into Gaza. The decision was at first reportedly accepted by Evans but was later rejected, leading to protests throughout Cairo all week under a heavy police presence.
The rioters claimed some of the protests were violent.
A press release by organizers claimed: “Members of the Gaza Freedom March are being forcibly detained in hotels around town as well as violently forced into pens in Tahrir Square by Egyptian police and additional security forces. Reports of police brutality are flooding a delegate legal hotline faster than the legal support team can answer the calls. The reports span from women being kicked, beaten to the ground and dragged into pens, at least one confirmed account of broken ribs, and many left bloody.”
The website BigGovernment.com noted author Philip Weiss wrote of witnessing Ayers’ and Dohrn’s involvement in the debate about whether to accept Egypt’s offer of allowing only a limited number of protesters to enter Gaza.
“As for the Egyptian statement that only hooligans were staying behind in Cairo … Dohrn said that the principle of ‘all or none’ was a miserable one for activist politics. … A European man in a red keffiyeh screamed at her that she was serving the fascisti. Her partner Bill Ayers gently confronted him and asked him why he was so out of control.”
Dohrn later wrote on a blog that she was briefly detained at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo following protests there by her group.
“Bill and I went to the American Embassy at 10 a.m. and asked to see the Ambassador. We were ushered into a holding pen a block away from the embassy building where we joined 35 people already there, surrounded by Egyptian soldiers,” she wrote.
Protests also were staged in front of other foreign embassies as well as in a public area in central Cairo.
Eventually, the protesters accepted the Egyptian offer of allowing about 100 marchers into Gaza. The marchers indeed entered Gaza and were reportedly met on the Gaza side by former Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh.
“We have managed to overcome the occupation plans and we will surely meet at the al-Aqsa Mosque and in Jerusalem, which will remain Arab and Islamic,” Haniyeh declared.
Evans squarely blamed Israel for Egypt’s refusal to allow her group to cross en masse into Gaza.
“It’s obvious that the only reason for it is to make Israel happy. Israel is behind the refusal – what other excuse could there be?”