Majdal Shams, 15.5.11
Majdal Shams, 15.5.11 Israel news photo: Flash 90

Col. (res.) Kobi Marom, formerly an IDF commander in Lebanon, said on Thursday that he is convinced that the IDF has learned the lessons from the ‘Nakba Day’ riots and is ready for the planned ‘Naksa Day’ events on Sunday.

‘Naksa Day’ is the day the Arabs mark the anniversary of the day Israeli troops liberated Jerusalem in the 1967 Six Day War. Websites have called on Arabs to march en masse towards Israel’s borders on that day.

“There is no doubt that the Majdal Shams incident, when dozens of Syrians infiltrated Israel, was a mishap for the IDF,” Marom told Arutz Sheva’s Hebrew website. “I am guessing that in the last two weeks, the IDF has formulated plans to carry out in case these kinds of incidents happen again. There is certainly an increased level of alert in order to prevent a large number of demonstrators in the north from cross the border as we saw two weeks ago on Nakba Day.”

Marom added that he is convinced that this time the IDF will react with determination against infiltrators who try to cross the border.

“Under the very complex circumstances the last time, the soldiers acted with the appropriate restraint,” he said. “That incident could have ended with 100-200 people dead and that would have changed the entire picture. But I think there is something that the IDF can do, even though it is not accustomed to such disturbances. With proper prior evaluations, these infiltrators can be deterred and the damage minimized.”

He added: “The first thing needed is to focus on intelligence. The other thing that is important is to concentrate significant forces that can deter such a movement towards the border fence. Use crowd-control measures and have a massive IDF presence in the area. All this may cause a demonstration, but it will not be anything beyond a stormy demonstration, and it certainly won’t be like it was in Majdal Shams two weeks ago.”

Marom said that he has no doubt that the IDF’s Northern Command is ready for any occurrence.

“I have personal knowledge that the command is prepared and has practiced the different scenarios,” he said. “Northern Command is headed by a great general who understands that there was a mishap last time and will do anything to ensure such incidents do not repeat themselves.”

Maron, who is a resident of the Jewish community of Neve Ativ in the Golan Heights, stated that the residents fully trust the IDF.

“I would assume that the events in Majdal Shams have had some influence on the citizens’ sense of security, especially since the Syrians roamed freely in the area and one even reached Tel Aviv,” he said. “But you have to take things into proportion. The IDF has learned the proper lessons and I think the public’s feeling is that it can trust the IDF and that the IDF will do the job that is expected of it.”