On 15 May, groups of Palestinians living in Syria and in Lebanon gathered and crossed the border into Israel, in demonstrations to mark Nakba (catastrophe) Day (the Palestinian name for the anniversary of the declaration of the state of Israel).
The Israeli army responded in typical ten-eyes-for-an-eye fashion, killing fourteen.
According to a sympathetic report on the Lebanese border action in Counterpunch by Franklin Lamb, who took part in it, buses to the border were organised by the Islamist party Hezbollah.
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah told the crowd that the action was a gesture of continued commitment to the destruction of Israel:
"The fate of this entity (enemy) is demise and no initiatives, treaties or borders will protect it. Your return to Palestine is inalienable right, and its realisation has become closer than any other time".
At the Syrian border, one of the people who had crossed the border fence and reached the nearest Israeli village Majdal Shams (inhabited by Druze: Arabs, but generally pro-Israeli) said (according to the liberal Israeli newspaper Haaretz, which in an editorial criticised the Israeli government response) that the action had "received a nod from the Syrian authorities". "We asked if we could go and they said yes, and we came in hundreds of buses..."
It is not the first time that Syria's dictatorship, which aids Hamas while denying the Palestinians living in Syria the right to obtain citizenship or to own land there, has used Palestinians as a pawn to boost itself as "anti-Zionist". And the grass-roots rebellion now underway in Syria will have given it added incentive.
The way forward in Israel-Palestine is the creation of an independent Palestinian state with full rights alongside Israel, and the decisive obstacle to that is the policies of successive Israeli governments.
But the 15 May events also showed that socialists must beware of demagogues seeking to divert the democratic revolt in the Arab world into chauvinist "destroy Israel" dead ends.