JERUSALEM – The protesters who marched on Israel’s borders Sunday in which Syrian media reports claimed the lives of nearly two dozens Syrians were reportedly paid to try to encroach on Israeli territory.
According to the Syrian opposition, the regime in Damascus paid poor farmers $1,000 to cross into Israeli territory and harass the Israeli army. It is alleged that the government promised an additional $25,000 to the families of those killed.
The Reform Party of Syria wrote on its official website that Syrian farmers make less than $200 a month, so many were tempted by the offer. And, if Syrian government media is to be believed, at least 23 paid with their lives for accepting the bribe.
Israeli army officials said very few of the Syrian demonstrators were actually injured or killed by Israeli gunfire. Most were the victims of clearly marked minefields stretching along the border region, the IDF said.
The Reform Party of Syria was furious with the President Bashar Assad for sending the farmers to their deaths, and accused the government of trying to create a diversion to take international focus off of the bloody pro-democracy uprising taking place there. Thousands of Syrians demanding democratic freedoms have been massacred by government forces.
The largest march on Israel’s borders marking the anniversary of the start of the Six Day War in 1967 – which the Arabs refer to as “the Setback” – was to come from Lebanon. But it didn’t materialize.
Early estimates were that upwards of 100,000 Lebanese would try to cross into northern Israel. But the Lebanese army prevented most from reaching the border region.
The Palestinians were only slightly more enthusiastic. Palestinians clashed with Israeli soldiers north of Jerusalem, carrying signs that read “A million martyrs are marching on Jerusalem.”
Some 40 Palestinians were wounded when Israeli security forces used non-lethal crowd control methods to defend themselves against the rioters.
At least four Israeli Arab Knesset members took part in the violent anti-Israel demonstrations, once again prompting calls that they be stripped of their parliamentary immunity.