News / Middle East

    Israel Accuses Syria of Inciting Golan Violence

    Pro Palestinians protesters run from tear gas fired by Israeli troops along the border between Israel and Syria near the village of Majdal Shams in the Golan Heights, Sunday, June 5, 2011
    Pro Palestinians protesters run from tear gas fired by Israeli troops along the border between Israel and Syria near the village of Majdal Shams in the Golan Heights, Sunday, June 5, 2011

    Multimedia

    Luis Ramirez

    Israel plans to file a complaint at the United Nations accusing Syria of inciting violence along its boundary with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.  On Sunday, Israeli troops fired at pro-Palestinian demonstrators who tried to breach the fence. Syria says at least 23 people were killed.

    Israeli soldiers on Monday repaired the parts of the barbed wire that Israel said protesters cut as they tried to enter Israeli-controlled territory in the Golan Heights.

    A number of demonstrators continued to camp on the Syrian side of the fence Monday, but reports say Syrian police started blocking any more of them from approaching the barrier.

    Dead protesters

    Syrian television on Monday showed the funerals of the dead protesters.  A relative of one of the dead accused Israel of using disproportionate force.

    The mourner says Israeli snipers fired at unarmed demonstrators who used - in the mourner's words - "only stones and flags" to confront Israeli security forces.

    The demonstration was part of a larger series of protests Sunday that Palestinians held to mark the anniversary of Israel's 1967 war with Jordan, Egypt, and Syria that resulted in the Israeli capture of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, the Golan Heights, the Gaza Strip, and the Sinai Peninsula.

    Organizers said their strategy was to use nonviolent means. Some protesters said they hope to gain international support by demonstrating peacefully and letting Israel appear as the aggressor.

    Dispute over victims

    Israel countered Syrian reports that Israeli soldiers killed protesters during Sunday's violence in the Golan Heights.  The Israeli army says 10 people died in the boundary area -- but not as a result of Israeli gunfire.  

    An army official says protesters hurled firebombs that struck old Syrian landmines and caused them to explode - resulting in the deaths.

    Israeli officials defended their troops' use of live fire and said soldiers were instructed to shoot only at the feet of those who tried to breach the border fence.

    Did Syria incite protests?

    Speaking on Israeli radio, Defense Minister Ehud Barak accused Syria of inciting the demonstrations along the Golan fence to deflect attention from the Assad leadership's crackdown on Syrian anti-government demonstrators.

    He said the responsibility for the violence and loss of life falls on Syria, where he said 1,200 people have been killed in the last three months. Barak said Syria could be encouraging the unrest along the border because it diverts attention from the uprising at home.  He said Israel has no choice but to protect its border.

    May 15 protest

    The Golan Heights boundary had been tense but largely peaceful for decades until May 15 when demonstrators breached the fence and entered Israeli-held territory.  In that incident, Israeli forces also opened fire. At least four demonstrators were killed.

    Palestinian activists say they plan to hold more demonstrations in the months leading up to September, when leaders will seek full membership in the United Nations as an independent Palestinian state.   

    Palestinian leaders say they are pushing ahead with the plan out of frustration, following the collapse of peace talks with Israel last September.

    Video footage of clash

     

    Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
    and discuss them on our Facebook page.

    You May Like

    US, Somalia Launch New Chapter in Relations

    US sends first ambassador to Somalia in 25 years; diplomatic presence and forces pulled out in 1993, after 18 US soldiers were killed when militiamen shot down military helicopter

    Brexit Vote Ripples Across South Asia

    Experts say exit is likely to have far-reaching economic, political and social implications for a region with deep historic ties to Britain

    Russian Military Tests Readiness With Snap Inspections

    Some observers see surprise drill as tit-for-tat response to NATO’s recent multinational military exercises in Baltic region

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Testing Bamboo as Building Materiali
    X
    June 27, 2016 9:06 PM
    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora