Sunday, June 5, 2011

Israeli's kill 23 during protest at Golan border, 350 wounded

Updated.  Israeli troops fired Sunday at demonstrators in Syria who rushed toward the border fence in a protest against Israeli occupation, and Syrian state television said 23 were killed. There were 350 wounded, some of them critically, sources in the hospital in Qunietra said.
Sunday was calld the 'Naksa commemoration. It marked the 44th anniversary of the 1967 Middle East war, in which Israel occupied Syria’s Golan Heights, as well as the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

The protests began around 11 a.m. with what appeared to be several dozen youths, brought in on buses. It gained strength through the day. By evening, the crowd had swelled to more than 1,000 people, who milled about, prayed and chanted slogans in an uneasy standoff with Israeli troops in the distance. The army bolstered its positions, posting a dozen armored vehicles and jeeps along the border road.
Israeli soldiers warned the approaching proteststers. 'Anyone who tries to cross the border will be killed,” Israeli soldiers shouted at the crowd of several hundred through loudspeakers on the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

A small group of youths managed to cut through a recently fortified coil of barbed-wire and took up positions in a trench inside a buffer zone about 20 yards (meters) from a final border fence. Israeli troops periodically opened fire at young activists jumping into the ditch, sending puffs of soil flying into the air.
Israel’s chief military spokesman, Brigadier-General Yoav Mordechai, said troops had opened fire but he could not confirm any casualties. On Isarel Radio he described Israel’s response as “measured, focused and proper.” However, Fuad al-Sha’ar, an apple grower who lives in Majdal Shams. 
said it was 'like a turkey shoot'.

As the standoff stretched into the evening, Israeli forces fired heavy barrages of tear gas to break up the crowds. Hundreds of people fled the area in panic, while some 20 people laying on the ground received treatment. It was not immediately clear whether the crowd would return to the front lines.
At nightfall, crowds of people fell to the ground in Muslim prayer, and several small groups lit bonfires, indicating the standoff would continue.
Israel had promised a tough response after being caught off guard in last month's demonstrations, when troops killed more than a dozen people during a similar protestat the occasion of Nakba day, the commemoration of the war of 1948 and the expulsion of the Palestinians.

This what Al-Jazeera English showed, including a reaction from the official Israeli spokesman:

The Israeli army said that the the prpotesres in part were responsible for their bown desaths, because they threw firebombs and cause mines to explodem which would have killed some of them. YNet writes 
that sources from the Syrian Opposition claim that President Bashar Assad's regime, under fire from civilians vying for overhauling reform recently, offered to pay demonstrators who join in the border protests $1,000 for participating, or give their families $10,000 in the event of their deaths. This is just nonsense.The opposition party which claims this is what happened is the Syrian Reform party, a completely phony party which relies mainly on the most rightist and pro-Israel commentators that can be found in the U.S.. It has, as far as I know, no following at all in Syria itself. I wouldn't even be surprised if it appeared to be sponsored by Israel. But the hasbarists will believe this crap, that's for sure.  

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