Majdal Shams Villagers Want Return to Quiet Life

A day after the bloody border clashes on Naksa Day, the Golan Heights village of Majdal Shams was quiet yesterday. While people here, and in other Druze villages along the border, hope the tension dies down and the calm remains, they are still shocked by Sunday's events.

"We want quiet and are trying to sell our merchandise," says Abu Salah, sitting with his wife at a market stall filled with cherries picked from his orchard. "But no one can remain indifferent after seeing the protesters being shot," he says.

It is now the peak of the cherry harvest and the merchants and guesthouse owners would like nothing more than calm. The village, usually filled with visitors at this time, is empty but for its residents.

"We don't want escalation and the sheikhs did well to disperse the youngsters [who wanted to demonstrate]," says a farmer.

The villagers are troubled by numerous roadblocks that the authorities have set on the road to Majdal Shams and other Golan villages.

Roads to village may be closed

The police said yesterday they were considering closing the roads to prevent entrance to the villages in view of the tension.

Shortly afterward, another police statement said no roads will be closed unless violent incidents or riots occur.

The possibility of closing off the communities angered the people. "You can't blame the residents for the tension on the border.

What took place on Sunday is a reflection of the frustration and fury after the [IDF's] prolonged shooting at the demonstrators and throwing gas grenades at the residents," said Majdal Shams attorney Kafah Johari.

"Nor is it fair to punish the residents and say they are a threat to visitors' safety," he added.