The Day After: Golan Border with Syria - Quiet but Tense
After the IDF accused the Syrian military of doing nothing to stop yesterday’s attempts to cross the border into Israel, the Syrians are now preventing civilians from nearing the border.
Day-long rioting yesterday at the Syrian-Israeli border near Majdal Shams in the Golan Heights led to some 20 civilian Syrian deaths, according to Syrian reports. IDF sources say these claims are exaggerated, and that at least eight people were killed when their Syrian co-rioters ignited land mines by throwing firebombs.
Specifically, the IDF reports that a Molotov cocktail thrown by Syrian demonstrators towards IDF forces on Sunday caused a brushfire in Syrian territory, leading to the explosion of four mines on the Syrian side of the Quneitra crossing in the Golan.
Syrian police and forces erected barricades at two points near the border today, preventing civilians from nearing the border.
Signal to Druze
Israel, for its part, is attempting to signal to the Druze population in northern Israel that it will not be worth its while to join forces with the Syrians – as they did yesterday evening, when they threw rocks at Israeli forces. The signal is in the form of a warning that Israelis will not be allowed to visit Druze villages over the course of the Shavuot holiday this Wednesday, “for fear of rock-throwings.” Such an edict would shut down the Druze tourism industry, on which many local villagers count for their daily bread.
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz toured Majdal Shams and nearby areas yesterday. He met there with Northern District Commander Maj.-Gen. Gadi Eisencott and other top district officers.
The area is quiet today, although some Syrians have gathered at what is known as the Hill of Yells, and Israeli forces are on the alert.
The pro-Palestinian Syrian rioters and would-be infiltrators were marking Naksa Day - their loss in the Six Day War of 1967 - by attempting to charge the borders and enter Israel. A similar attempt on Nakba - "Catastrophe" - Day, the date marking Israel’s independence, scored more success, as some 150 Syrians stormed the border and spent a few hours in Israel. They continue to vow that they will liberate the entire Holy Land from Jewish rule.
What this means, according to Sabri Saidam, secretary-general of the Fatah Revolution Council is total conquest of Israel. Saidam recently wrote about “Palestinian refugees outside and inside the homeland” who “seek a just peace but will not turn to it until the occupation is gone.”