Protesters attempt to climb Lebanon-Israel border wall amid warning shots

Protests continued a day after a Hezbollah-affiliated protester was shot dead at the border

Supporters of Hezbollah and the Palestinian revolution faction climb the wall during protest at the Al Odaisseh area opposite the Al Mutaleh Israeli settlement at the Lebanese border with Israel, 15 May 2021. EPA
Supporters of Hezbollah and the Palestinian revolution faction climb the wall during protest at the Al Odaisseh area opposite the Al Mutaleh Israeli settlement at the Lebanese border with Israel, 15 May 2021. EPA

Israeli border guards fired tear gas and warning shots at crowds attempting to scale the border wall from Lebanon on Saturday, as demonstrators returned to the frontier for the second day in a row.

Scores of young men climbed the concrete barricade separating Israel and Lebanon at several points across the south, raising the Iranian, Hezbollah, and Palestinian flags, as well as tossing Molotov cocktails onto the Israeli side of the frontier –all barely 24 hours after a member of Hezbollah was shot dead by IDF soldiers whilst attempting to storm the fence in a similar protest.

Yet the protests in south Lebanon were more orchestrated than those seen across Israel, the West Bank, and on the border with Jordan.

Political factions had bussed in supporters from across the country – vehicles draped in the flags of Hezbollah and the SSNP clogged the narrow roads leading to the border village of Kafr Killa.

Mysterious men in caps and sunglasses barked orders at young men, eager to show their bravery.

Amid olive groves on the other side of the concrete barrier, three Israeli army trucks were positioned menacingly as rocks rained into the trees in front of them.

Abu Ali, a 33-year-old from Ain Al Hilweh refugee camp, broke into a hot sweat as he smashed rocks into throwable sizes for his friends.

“Gaza is a massacre. But this here is also a frontline. I am twenty metres from Israel. I am the revolution in Gaza. I am the revolution in Sheikh Jarrah.”

Yet, like many, Abu Ali was born in Lebanon and has never been able to visit his homeland. It was not lost on him that climbing the concrete wall – dangerous as it may be, was for now the closest he will get to Palestinian territory.

“If they shoot me at the top, maybe I will fall onto Palestinian soil,” he joked, before ricocheting a heap of clay off the camera tower.

The Lebanese army had set up further checkpoints across the south, in an attempt to prevent Palestinians from travelling from refugee camps across Lebanon to the border.

The day also coincided with the 73rd anniversary of the Nakhba – when hundreds of thousands of Palestinian fled their homes in the holy land, never to return.

A supporter of Hezbollah and the Palestinian revolution faction prepares to throw a petrol bomb. EPA
A supporter of Hezbollah and the Palestinian revolution faction prepares to throw a petrol bomb. EPA

The day is marked by demonstrations every year and is a hugely symbolic day for Palestinians living across the region.

Lebanon’s National News Agency said that three protestors had been injured in the demonstration.

The protests had been arranged after 21-year-old Mohammed Tahan, a Hezbollah member, was shot dead in a smaller protest on Friday. Israel’s eastern border with Jordan has seen similar demonstrations, with demonstrators on Friday attempting to charge across the Allenby Bridge.

On Friday night the IDF claimed to foil a group attempting to “infiltrate into Israeli territory and carry out an attack in the area of Metula.” Adding that the group fled after warning shots were fired, and left behind suspected explosive materials.

On Thursday three rockets were fired by an unknown group in Lebanon into Israeli territory. The IDF said no one was hurt.

Updated: May 16, 2021 12:53 AM

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