James Reddick in the Boston Review:
In the hills of South Lebanon, just beyond Bint Jbeil, the convoy of buses carrying Palestinians and Lebanese sympathetic to their cause toward the border with Israel finally reached an impasse—a rural traffic jam. The winding, narrow roads didn’t have the capacity for a full-scale “Return to Palestine,” as the organizers of the May 15th Nakba demonstrations were calling it. Preferring to climb by foot, crowds emerged from the buses and streamed across the hills.
Sixty-three years before, along this same stretch of road, thousands had crossed the border in the other direction to flee the 1947–48 civil war in Mandatory Palestine and then the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. Today, Nakba, or “catastrophe,” is mourned on the same day Israelis celebrate independence. The elderly—those few who may recall an adolescence spent in their homeland of Palestine—trudged alongside the hordes of youth born mostly into Lebanon’s refugee camps. Here and there the marching column widened to pass the elderly who had collapsed in the road from exhaustion and were being tended to by their families.
We marched around the last winding bend before the farm land of Israel came into view, unaware that Palestinian demonstrators along the Syrian border with the Golan Heights had managed to breach the fence and pour into the Israeli town of Majdal Shams. Had we known this at the time we may have had a sense of what was to come.