Israel to UN: Syria border provocation has potential for serious escalation
Israeli delegation to UN writes complaint letter over Naksa Day to UN chief, says Syrian government bears responsibility for any harm caused to individuals who tried to breach Israel's border.
The Israeli delegation to the United Nations has dispatched a complaint letter to the UN chief and the president of the UN Security Council condemning Syria's "dangerous provocations" on its border with Israel on Sunday.
Haim Waxman, the deputy chief of Israel's delegation to the UN, stressed in his letter that the Syrian government bears the responsibility for any harm caused to the individuals who tried to breach the disengagement line with Israel on Naksa Day, the anniversary of Israel's victory in the 1967 war.
According to Syrian media reports, Israel Defense Forces soldiers killed 22 protesters trying to cross from Syria into Israel on Sunday.
Waxman emphasized that the IDF acted with restraint while handling the protesters and that Israel had repeatedly alerted all parties regarding the "explosive potential of protests planned for June 5 2011."
"Despite these clear warnings, Syria did not prevent demonstrators from arriving at the disengagement line and attempting to cross it," he said.
"To the contrary, this incident — which could not have taken place without the knowledge of the Syrian authorities — reflects a blatant attempt by Syria to distract international attention from the violent repression of its own people."
He urged the international community to convey a message to Syria that "such provocations carry serious potential for escalation and must cease completely."
The IDF said Monday that since all the casualties on Naksa Day were on the Syrian side of the border it was unable to provide an exact count, but it expressed great skepticism about the Syrian figures. Soldiers fired "with precision" at the bottom half of the bodies of the protesters, the army said.
Many, if not most, of the casualties occurred when a brush fire, apparently ignited by Molotov cocktails hurled by the demonstrators, set off antitank mines along the border near Quneitra at about 5 P.M.
The army also accused the Syrian government of creating a deliberate provocation in an effort to divert world attention from its ongoing bloody repression of pro-democracy protests at home.