[The following report and photographs were sent to Jadaliyya by Natalia Sancha in regards to events that transpired on Sunday May 15.]
It all started as a commemoration. Buses, food, chanting, and derbakehs. We arrived to Maroun Ras after four hours of driving from Beirut. Some youth go off the path and start running downhill towards the border … they are not aware that there are mines on the way. Chanting while stones are thrown at the Israeli soldiers hiding between the electric fence and the forest. Impossible to be reached by stones. We hear the first shooting. The first martyr is less than twenty years old and they say he is from Ein al-Hilweh camp, near Saida. The second one is fourteen years old. Ambulances finally arrive. Then the Lebanese army gets in the way of Palestinians trying to reach the electric fence. “We are all Palestinians, this is our land, we want to be with our brothers. They are killing them. Do something.” The Lebanese army does not interfere, neither does UNIFIL. Palestinians throw stones at the Lebanese army. Fire continues in the front. Shootings. We throw ourselves to the floor. We cannot run. We cannot move, there are mines all around us. The man two meters away from me is shot in the heart. The third “martyr." Next to him, another man is shot in the leg. Out of desperation, one man takes one of the mines from the ground. We all start running. He wants to throw it at the Israeli soldiers. More shooting. A man shot in the cheek, another in the leg, another in the arm ... it continues. The Lebanese army move all the Palestinians back, but they insist to keep going to the border. The girls push. The Lebanese army stop them. The men tell the army “don’t touch our women." The girls start running, free, crazy, shouting “Palestine” towards the fence. “There are mines!!! Stop!!! Stop!!!” The girls stop. A girl, paralyzed, is rescued. I found a nine year-old girl in the front. How did you come here? Where is your mom? “I came alone … I want to go there" as she points to the fence. The men next to me take her away, back up to the hill. More Israeli soldiers arrive. More Lebanese soldiers arrive. The Lebanese army forces Palestinians to return up the hill, far from the fence by shooting thousands of bullets in the air that sounded like hell for ten minutes … we are all on the floor, heads down. One, two, three, four, five ... ten women faint and some men carry them uphill among stones and rocks. Shooting continues. Now gas. We barely can breath running uphill, no water, gas, shooting, fainting. The shooting continues until we are all up. We don’t know how many dead. I saw four, they say fifteen. From where? Rashidie? Ein al-Hilweh? People want to know from which camp. Crying. The “Nakba Day” ends up of the hill. “Allahu akbar, allahu akbar” screams an old man.