Sunday, June 5, 2011

Syrians Try to Force Their Way Across Israeli Border

I fear this forced peaceful march border crossing is now part of the new tactic in trying to delegitimize Israel.

"Violence along the border between Syria and the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights escalated, claiming casualties on Sunday, as Israeli soldiers opened fire on demonstrators in two locations who sought to march across the frontier on the anniversary of the outbreak of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.

Syria's state news agency said 23 people were killed and more than 350 were injured.

Israeli officials accused Syria of backing the protests to distract attention from its repression of weekslong antiregime protests, and said Lebanese authorities avoided a flare-up by declaring the border a closed military zone.
An Israeli government spokesman expressed regret for the deaths, but accused Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime of ignoring Israeli warnings and putting protesters at risk to distract attention from domestic unrest. "Bashar Assad is sacrificing his people in order further his own agenda, which is to divert attention from what is happening for Syria," said Dan Gillerman, a spokesman for the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. "I think [the protests] were planned and executed by the government. It was very well-orchestrated," Mr. Gillerman said.

According to the Israeli army and witnesses, protesters gathered Sunday morning at a hilltop on the Syrian side of the border within walking distance of Majdal Shams, the Golan Heights village. When the demonstrators began to march toward the border, soldiers tried to ward them off with verbal warnings piped over loudspeakers, by firing into the air, and by firing tear gas, an Israeli army spokeswoman said.

Ignoring the warnings, dozens of demonstrators crossed into the United Nations-monitored demilitarized zone, reaching an Israeli military trench. When the demonstrators tried to penetrate a barbed-wire barrier about 100 yards from the Israeli line, snipers opened fire at their lower bodies, said an Israeli army spokeswoman. "IDF forces were left with no choice," she said.

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