The IDF fired at a Syrian military outpost after Syrian forces fired at the IDF two times within a 12 hour period. Last night, around 9pm Israeli time, a Syrian bullet hit an IDF jeep within the Golan Heights. There were no injuries, yet minor damage was caused to the vehicle. Then, this morning, Syrian forces fired again at Israeli soldiers who were guarding the border in the Golan Heights. No injuries were reported in this incident as well, yet Israel decided to respond by firing back at the Syrians and scored a direct hit.
According to Israel’s new defense minister, Moshe Ya’alon, “Every violation of Israeli sovereignty and firing from the Syrian side will be answered immediately through the silencing of the source of fire when it is identified.” He added, “We see the Syrian regime as being responsible for all violations of sovereignty. We won’t allow the Syrian army or any other element to violate Israeli sovereignty by opening fire at our territory.” A senior level defense force concurred, claiming, “We have repeatedly clarified that we cannot accept shootings at our forces, whether they are accidental or deliberate.”
IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, describing the situation along the Syrian-Israeli border as a volatile situation, proclaimed: “The shooting at IDF soldiers this morning endangered the lives of our forces, and therefore we were forced to attack and destroy the position from which the fire came.” Defense Minister Ya’alon, asserted that Israel is closely monitoring the situation in Syria yet does not want to be forced to get involved. He claimed, “As long as it does not threaten us, we will not intervene.” However, in recent days, the violence has increasingly spilled over into Israel. In addition to the two attacks within the last twenty-four hours, several days earlier a Syrian shell exploded within the Golan Heights. There have been other instances as well.
Thus, due to this situation, Israel has formerly handed over a complaint regarding how the fighting in Syria has spilled over into the Golan Heights to the United Nations. Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor declared, “So far, Israel has shown maximum restraint. You must act as soon as possible before the situation deteriorates.” He added, “Firing on Israeli territory is a violation of the ceasefire agreement between Israel and Syria. These incidents have the potential to incite an already tense region. Israel will not stand by while its citizens’ lives are at risk from reckless behavior in Syria.”
Indeed, the entire Israeli political leadership is very worried about the present situation in Syria. Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu even cited it as the main reason for reconciling with Turkey recently. He proclaimed, “It’s important that Turkey and Israel, which both share a border with Syria, are able to communicate with each other and this is also relevant to other regional challenges. In addition, the visit of US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Kerry created an opportunity to end the crisis.” Netanyahu continued, “Syria is crumbling, and its massive stockpiles of advanced weapons are starting to fall into the hands of various elements. What we fear most is that terrorist groups will get their hands on chemical weapons.”
By Rachel Avraham