Monday, June 6, 2011

Protesters Remain Near Golan Heights

The United Nations is urging pro-Palestinian protesters and the Israeli Defense Forces at the Golan heights to cool down before tensions escalate and more people are hurt.

"The events of today and of 15 May on the Golan put the long-held cease-fire in jeopardy," the office of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement.

Israeli officials charge Syrian authorities with a cynical and deadly ploy of allowing pro-Palestinian protesters yesterday to cross into the captured Golan Heights to divert attention away from the strong-arm tactics of President Bashir al-Assad.

The Israelis argued that the protesters, who were marking Naksa Day anniversary of the 1967 Six Day War, when the Israelis captured the heights and other territory from Syria, Jordan and Egypt, could not approach the border fence without the Syrian military allowing it to happen.

"The Syrians allowed these people to instigate provocation, to challenge Israel's sovereignty," said Netanyahu. "This was an attempt to divert international intention from what is happening with Syria, and from the difficult events occurring in the city of Homa," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. 

"We stand firm in our right to protect our citizens and our border, and will do this with restrain and responsibility," he added.

It led to the deaths of about two dozen demonstrators yesterday, according to Syria, though Israel says it was closer to 10. The Syrian charge the protesters were shot, but the Israeli's say they were killed when they tripped land mines in the area when they hurled firebombs.

Some 14 protesters also were killed May 15 along the Israeli border with Syria and Lebanon. May 15 is Nakba Day, which marks the day Palestinians fled their homes after the Israeli takeover in 1948.

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