Assad stages bloody confrontation at border with Israel
We reported yesterday on the "Naksa Day" (Day of the Setback) protests by Palestinians which marks the beginning of the 1967 War.
The story that has emerged following a day of violence along the border near the Golan Heights is one that fingers Syrian President Bashir Assad as the culprit in inciting the protestors to rush the Israeli border and give the IDF little choice in their course of action.
The evidence, as I point out in my FrontPage.com article, is overwhelming:
There is no independent corroboration of the number of casualties. The state-run news agency SANA, a propaganda organ wholly owned and operated by the Syrian government, reported that 20 protesters were killed and 350 wounded, quoting a doctor working at the state-run local hospital. One Israeli government official was quoted as saying, "Damascus has a track record of not being precise with its data."
The same official pointed out that President Assad has good reason to engineer a confrontation between the IDF and protesters while inciting violence that was sure to gain worldwide headlines. "One can only suppose that there was a decision taken in Syria to exploit the situation to change the subject from what is going on inside Syria," he said.
As the violence escalates in Syria, President Assad appears to be striking out blindly in a desperate effort to deflect attention from a crackdown that human rights activists estimate conservatively has cost the lives of over 1,100 Syrian civilians. A major opposition website in Syria claimed that "Naksa protesters were poor farmers who were paid $1,000 by the Syrian regime to come to the border." The group also claimed that the Syrian government promised $10,000 to the families of anyone killed.
The bused demonstrators, paid agitators, and the Syrian police and soldiers who stood by as the rioters made their way back and forth across the Syrian border make it clear that the protests near the Golan were a Syrian production from start to finish -- the planned incitement of violence against the IDF designed to relieve pressure on the Syrian regime which is beginning to buckle under the weight of protests against it. No doubt, the Palestinians went along with this Kubuki dance in order to garner worldwide sympathy for their cause in the lead up to an effort at the United Nations this fall to gain recognition for an independent Palestinian state.
Strangely, the border with Lebanon was quiet as the usually Syrian-friendly Lebanese army prevented protestors from marching to the border. But later in the day, a delegation from Iran toured the border area, reminding us of who is really calling the shots now in Lebanon.
Expect more of these border confrontations, more Palestinian dead bodies that the PA leadership can parade in front of the world as evidence of Israel's evil intent. The cynical sacrifice of the innocent by the PA will continue - after all, it's not the leaders who are getting shot at.
At the same time, Israel must continue to act with as much restraint as is consistent with their security and their morality. We still don't know the facts of what went on at the border where Palestinians were killed, but the measures Israel took prior to the events seemed reasonable:
When the protesters attempted to cut through barbed wire on the Syrian side of the border near Majdal Shams, the IDF shouted warnings in Arabic via loudspeaker, announcing that anyone who tried to cross the frontier into Israel would "endanger their lives." Israeli soldiers then fired their guns in the air trying to dissuade the infiltrators from advancing further. Finally, after protesters tried to cut through the last barrier, IDF snipers fired at the protesters' lower bodies, the IDF reported.
Anyone who can't see the difference between the behavior of the IDF and the terror in the night given the Vogel family by terrorists needs a serious mental examination. And yet, Palestinian apologists are making that ridiculous comparison today.