Sunday’s infiltration by a Syrian mob into the Golan Heights near a Druze town has exposed several security deficiencies – including that the mines there don’t work.
Photographs of Syrian rioters walking freely through the mined buffer zones between Israel and Syria, and even holding up old mines, have become the Arab “victory photos” for Naqba Day.
It is estimated that one million mines are dispersed along the border areas with Syria, placed there some 45 years ago. “Danger – Mines!” signs are a familiar site in the Golan. In February 2010, five members of a Jewish family playing in the Golan snow were injured when a mine exploded.
However, it is assumed that in general, the mines no longer work, and in fact, provided no deterrence against the infiltrating mobs. “These are old mines, and we knew they wouldn’t work,” a security source told correspondent Haggai Huberman last night. “For years we have been asking for funding to replace them.”
In addition, faulty intelligence led the IDF to ignore reports of large-scale plans to organize for such infiltrations. Two regiments were on the alert, but the army’s intelligence arms wrongly indicated Kuneitra – some 30 kilometers south of Majdal Shams – as the expected flashpoint. Only a few dozen soldiers, therefore, were deployed in the Majdal Shams area, where hundreds of rioting Syrians gathered and where many of them ultimately infiltrated.
The IDF acknowledges that its failure yesterday could lead to similar incidents, Huberman reports. The estimation is that the events of yesterday, including the riots along the Lebanese border, were organized by Iranian-backed Hizbullah in coordination with Syria.
IDF Golan Brigade Commander Col. Eshkol Shukrun, who commanded yesterday’s events even after being wounded by a rock, said the international force’s cooperation with Israel was helpful.