For the first time in 63 years of being outcast from their home land,
some 50,000 Palestinians have flooded the border of Lebanon and Palestine.
Press TV speaks with Franklin Lamb, international lawyer participating in the NAKBA commemoration and witnessing the extraordinary scenes at the Lebanese border.
Following is a transcription of that interview.
Press TV: On this anniversary of NAKBA, so far we have 65 people injured and at least one person killed; we have reports of a journalist being critically injured in Gaza. We also have reports of 30 Palestinians hurt and four killed in Southern Lebanon. Do you think the Israelis are feeling they can get away with this violence without pressure or consequences from the international community?
Franklin Lamb: I’m at Maruno rock and your report is not accurate. There are 7 killed and maybe 18 wounded. I’m standing in the midst of thousands and thousands of Palestinians pushing their way into Palestine. Thousands more are still arriving here even though the ceremonies have ended because they are arriving late from areas far away.
Literally hundreds of buses have arrived. Hezbollah has arranged for 200 more buses to come from Syria; Palestinians from Syria. They are still arriving and I am amazed at what I am seeing. I’ve seen so many babies and so many pregnant women on so many buses here that you have to walk the last four or five miles up hills and through fields; there are people on crutches, old people. If there is anybody who thinks Palestine is not going to be liberated let them come to Maruno rock this May 15th.
This is a historic event similar to the freedom marches America used to have in the 1960s civil rights movement — the spirit is so great. This is a momentous historic event of NAKBA and the need to be liberated because of the Arab and Islamic awakening and this is part of that awakening. It’s amazing — I’ve been to a lot of demonstrations — nothing like this. Nothing like this has occurred on the question of Palestine for the past 63 years.
Press TV: On other occasions of the NAKBA there have been commemorations. So you’re saying that it’s starkly different from previous commemorations?
Franklin Lamb: Yes. The Palestinians of Lebanon have virtually no civil rights, it’s a huge crime. But they have never been allowed — I see people now looking at Palestine crying — they have never been allowed to come south of the Litani river by discriminatory laws passed by the Lebanese parliament.
So what’s unique about this and why it caught on is that this is the first chance in 63 years for many of these people crowded on hundreds and hundreds of buses to see Palestine. That’s why it’s different.
What happened is certain objected to it, but the resistance of Palestinians said we’re coming so they allowed them to come for the first time in more than half a century. They’re sitting here and many want to go to Akka. If you stand on a pole here you can see Akka — it’s about 30 miles away from here, but you can see it.
There are 250,000 Palestinians in Lebanon living in terrible conditions; I’m going to guess that there are at least 50,000 or 20% of the Palestinians in Lebanon here today and I think it’s the beginning of a massive massive intifada.
Press TV: From what you’re describing and I think any human could possibly imagine not being able to go back to their homeland after being taken away; and as you said seeing it for the first time, the sheer emotion that you must be witnessing out there.
Franklin Lamb: Exactly that. The young people have tears — before they only heard stories from their grandfathers, but now they see it and they see the Zionist soldiers in their arrogance driving around and pointing guns. You can imagine what the resistance is thinking. I’m not predicting there’s going to be an incident here, but the tension is very high.
The ceremonies have been over for hours, but the people are still coming. There is no way to leave this area because there are so many buses and taxis jamming all of this part of southern Lebanon. It’s amazing; the people are in great solidarity — there are quite a few Europeans here and lots of Lebanese. Some people say they’ve had enough of the Palestinians, but there is lots of Lebanese here.
Press TV: What is the goal of the people still coming out? Is it just to take a look or to continue a commemoration service?
Franklin Lamb: I think the reason they’re coming, beside the fact that the roads have been clogged, is that feeling of solidarity and the special connection with the rest of their brothers and sisters here who are literally thousands upon thousands.