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Syria Foments Trouble in Israel: Gaddafi Was Right

by | 15th, May 2011

AFTER a brief hiatus, Syria and Islamists have placed Israel back on the mainstream news. The break in the usual obsession even caused the monocular Yasmin Alibhai-Brown to shift slightly:

As Gaddafi systematically massacres his people and the country descends into civil war, as armies slaughter civilians in Yemen and Bahrain, now Syria, I ask why good people have focused only on Palestine/Israel for more than half a century and not attended to the brutality and oppression endemic in the Islamic states.

Today, the protests to mark the 63rd anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel left 13 dead. Thousands of people entered the Druze town of Majdal Shams and breached the border into Israel. The Jerusalem Post, says the village in the Golan is now calm.

One Israeli official tells AFP:

“Syria is a police state. Demonstrators do not randomly approach the border without the prior approval of the central government.”

The talk of late has been of a two-state solutuion and Palestinian unity. Here’s what Ismail Haniyeh, prime minister of the Hamas government in Gaza, has to say:

“Palestinians mark the occasion this year with great hope of bringing to an end the Zionist project in Palestine.”

Back in Syria, where President Assad’s goons have been murdering the people:

Syria condemned on Sunday Israel’s “criminal activities” in the Golan Heights, the Palestinian territories and southern Lebanon where Israeli forces had fired to disperse pro-Palestinian protests.

You might sneer. Some say Assad is keen for trouble to return to Israel. Gaddafi tried it:

Palestinian refugees should capitalize on the wave of popular revolts in the Middle East by massing peacefully on the borders of Israel until it gives in to their demands, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi said Sunday.

As the AP says:

Although Syria demands the area back as part of any peace deal, the border has been quiet for decades.

The Times looks at Lebanon’s border with Israel:

Saad Hariri, the Lebanese caretaker prime minister, said, “The Israeli shooting against peaceful demonstrators on our southern border is a blatant, intolerable aggression”.

By early evening, Hezbollah, the militant Lebanese Shia group, had placed its cadres on full alert. Adding to the regional volatility, hundreds of Syrian refugees also fled across the border into Lebanon earlier in the day after Damascus’ forces, who have used tanks and snipers to kill hundreds of domestic pro-democracy supporter, reportedly killed three people in a village close to the frontier.

What we are watching is an abuse of the Palestinians to deflect attention for Assad, give the Islamists a jolt and enable militant Israelis to look tough and reasoned. The losers are the poor Palestinian refugees who have nowhere to go.

Meanwhile, while you look at Israel – as ever you must – the Syrians are shifted down the news agenda; and you might miss Bahrain entirely. Here’ Robert Fisk:

On this tiny island, a Sunni monarchy, the al-Khalifas, rule a majority Shia population and have responded to democratic protests with death sentences, mass arrests, the imprisonment of doctors for letting patients die after protests and an “invitation” to Saudi forces to enter the country. They have also destroyed dozens of Shia mosques with all the thoroughness of a 9/11 pilot. But then, let’s remember that most of the 9/11 killers were indeed Saudis.And what do we get for it? Silence. Silence in the US media, largely silence in the European press, silence from our own beloved CamerClegg and of course from the White House. And – shame of shame – silence from the Arabs who know where their bread is buttered. That means, of course, also silence from al-Jazeera.

Look out for that on the BBC…



Posted: 15th, May 2011 | In: Reviews Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink