Nakba Violence Escalates As Many Dead On Isreal Borders With Syria, Lebanon And Gaza
Not all headlines today are about the sexual indignities of the IMF head. While the world is eagerly awaiting yet another photo that may or may not be released, in the form of the Dominique Strauss-Kahn mugshot, a surge in violence along Israel's three borders with Syria, Lebanon and Gaza, has left at last 10 dead and dozens wounded as Palestinians marked what they term Nakba, or "the catastrophe" of Israel's founding in 1948. Reuters reports that "Israeli troops shot at protesters in three
separate locations to prevent crowds from crossing Israeli frontier
lines in the deadliest such confrontation in years. Israeli and Syrian media reports said Israeli gunfire killed four people after dozens of Palestinian refugees infiltrated the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights from Syria, along a disputed border that has been quiet for decades." A subsequent update from Reuters states that "more than 100 people had been wounded in the shooting incident in the border village of Maroun al-Ras." Prime Minister Netanyahu issued a stern warning: "We hope the calm and quiet will quickly return,
but let nobody be mistaken, we are determined to defend our borders and
sovereignty." Alas, it appears that this latest bout of regional violence will only escalate and that quite rapidly: "In Tel Aviv, Israel's commercial hub, a truck driven by an Arab Israeli slammed into vehicles and pedestrians, killing one man and injuring 17 people." The only remaining wild card at this point is Iran: should Tehran join in, then all bets will be off. Also, CL traders can't hardly wait the arrival of another record vol day as soon as electronic trading opens later in the day.
Israeli security forces had been on alert for violence on Sunday, the day Palestinians mark the "Nakba," or catastrophe, of Israel's founding in a 1948 war, when hundreds of thousands of their brethren fled or were forced to leave their homes.
In the Druze village of Majdal Shams, on the Golan Heights captured by Israel from Syria in 1967, Mayor Dolan Abu Salah said between 40 and 50 Nakba demonstrators from Syria tore through the frontier fence.
Hundreds of protesters flooded the lush green valley that marks the border area, waving Palestinian flags. Israeli troops attempted to mend the breached fence, firing at what the army described as infiltrators.
"We are seeing here an Iranian provocation, on both the Syrian and the Lebanese frontiers, to try to exploit the Nakba day commemorations," said the army's chief spokesman, Lieutenant-Colonel Yoav Mordechai.
Syria is home to 470,000 Palestinian refugees and its leadership, now facing fierce internal unrest, had in previous years prevented protesters from reaching the frontier fence.
"This appears to be a cynical and transparent act by the Syrian leadership to deliberately create a crisis on the border so as to distract attention from the very real problems that regime is facing at home," said a senior Israeli government official who declined to be named.
In a Nakba protest in the occupied West Bank, Palestinian youths threw rocks at Israeli soldiers, who fired tear gas and rubber bullets in a clash at the Israeli military checkpoint outside the city of Ramallah -- a constant flashpoint.
A Palestinian teenager was shot dead during protests in Jerusalem on Friday. Police said it was unclear who had shot him and they were investigating.
From Jerusalem Post:
UN peacekeepers in southern Lebanon (UNIFIL) urged the parties involved in a shooting incident on Sunday at the Lebanese-Israeli border to show "maximum restraint" to prevent casualties.
Spokesman Andrea Tenenti said UNIFIL was in contact with the Lebanese army and the Israeli military. Security sources said four people had been killed after Israeli forces fired in the air to repel Palestinians demonstrating at Maroun a-Ras on the border.
"Hundreds of Lebanese and Palestinians approached the fence at Maroun a-Ras. The Lebanese army did not stop them. When IDF saw them attempting to destroy the fence, they took steps to stop them," Brig.-Gen. Yoav "Poli" Mordechai told Channel 10 News.
Also on Sunday, several dozen pro-Palestinian protesters crossed the Syrian border into the Golan Heights, an act Mordechai called "an Iranian provocation." Sources reported between two to four Syrians dead and 10-20 people injured in those ensuing clashes.
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