IDF readies 'firm, but non-lethal' response along borders
The IDF is taking extra precautions and preparing a firm but non-lethal response to any attempt to force the nation’s borders in the coming days, as Palestinians plan mass marches to mark Arab losses in the Six Day War.
IDF units have dug a barbed-wire-protected trench along the Golan Heights security fence at Majdal Shams, Israel Radio reported. Residents of the Druse village have been instructed not to approach the fence, which some 100 Syrians crossed on May 15 in a dramatic cross-border breach.
An extensive campaign on Facebook and other Internet forums is calling for marches on Israel’s borders with Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Gaza, and for Arabs in Israel, the West Bank and Jerusalem to converge on the Aksa Mosque to declare their “allegiance” to the city.
Of course Jerusalem will be involved - after all, it is the epicenter.
Three separate but similar rallies are planned for this Friday, Sunday and Tuesday, with Sunday – the anniversary of the war’s outbreak in 1967 – expected to draw the largest crowds.
An IDF officer told The Associated Press this week that the army would set “red lines” for demonstrators and would provide troops with crowd-control tools such as rubber bullets and water cannons to handle “life-threatening situations.”
The official said the army would be better equipped to handle protests than it was two weeks ago, when on “Nakba Day” – the annual Palestinian day of mourning over Israel’s creation – at least 10 people were killed on the Lebanese and Syrian borders while trying to enter the country.
This situation, like so many others, is worth watching closely. In the powder-keg known as the Middle East, a small match could ignite the entire region.
This would be a good time to pray for peace in Jerusalem.