Police remove protesters near Baram Forest 311.
(photo credit: Ben Hartman)
The IDF will be on high alert along the borders with Syria and Lebanon, as well
as in the West Bank on Tuesday amid concern that Palestinians will launch large
protests in conjunction with Al-Quds Day – Jerusalem Day – marking Israel’s
capture of the capital in 1967.
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IDF sources said that troops will remain
in place on the Golan Heights on the outskirts of the Druse village of Majdal
Shams, where there were violent attempts to infiltrate Israel on Sunday and 24
Syrian-Palestinians were killed, according to Syrian media reports.
Monday, the IDF said the Syrian government was purposely exaggerating the death
toll in an effort to shift its people’s focus away from President Bashar Assad’s
deadly crackdown on opposition inside his country.
The Northern Command
identified between 8 and 10 protesters who were killed when a gasoline bomb they threw set a minefield on fire, causing the premature
detonation of mines. The Red Cross was also unable to confirm the Syrian media
Internet organizers are continuing efforts to bring Palestinians
to the streets on Tuesday, the last day in a three-day “Naksa Day” commemoration
that began on Friday and continued on Sunday.
The Facebook group
“Countdown to the Third Palestinian Intifada” – which has amassed 379,000
followers, or “likes” – has designated Tuesday as the “Day of Allegiance to
Jerusalem” and called on supporters to march on the capital’s Al-Aksa Mosque in
a display of loyalty to the city.
The IDF’s concern is that Palestinian
protesters in Syria will try to turn the border near Majdal Shams into the scene
of “regular” demonstrations, similar to the weekly protests that are held in the
West Bank villages of Bil’in and Ni’lin against construction of the security
“We are prepared for this possibility and for now we will keep
troops there on a permanent basis,” one IDF source said.
IDF Chief of
General Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz visited the border area on Monday and
said the military would stay ready amid predictions that demonstrations on the
scale of Sunday’s violence would continue.
“We must maintain a high level
of alert and be prepared,” Gantz said.
“We are prepared to deal with
every obstacle and to activate our defenses against possible terrorist threats
and against mass attempts to cross our borders.”
Defense Minister Ehud
Barak said on Monday that he had ordered the IDF to continue to operate with
resolve and determination to prevent breaches of the country’s borders and
“There is an attempt to minimize the harm done to civilians
but in the end, the protesters are the ones who should be held responsible for
these provocations for encouraging and sending people to them,” Barak
While police will be on high alert in Jerusalem, both Arab and
left-wing activists said they were unaware of any protests planned in the
capital on Tuesday, despite Internet plans to march on the Aksa
Activists had similar plans on Sunday, but marchers trying to
enter Jerusalem from the Kalandiya checkpoint were turned back just meters past
the checkpoint, and the march degenerated into skirmishes between approximately
250 Palestinians and the army along the Jerusalem-Ramallah highway.
the clashes, one policeman and 40 demonstrators were wounded.
police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby dismissed the chances of a march from Kalandiya
successfully reaching the capital, on Tuesday or any day.
“We have the
army in front of us, and the army certainly knows how to deal with this
situation,” he said on Monday. “So far, [the Naksa demonstrations] haven’t
caught on in Jerusalem. If they do develop here, we will do everything necessary
to contain it.”Melanie Lidman contributed to this report.