IDF withholds video of Lebanese firing on protesters

After consultations with PMO, IDF determines that releasing footage could prevent Lebanese Army from responding to future protests.

May 17, 2011 05:37
2 minute read.
Nakba day protesters in Egypt's Tahrir Square

Nakba Day protests_311. (photo credit: Reuters)

Despite accusations that the IDF killed 10 Lebanese protesters on Sunday, Israel has decided not to release a video which shows the Lebanese Army opening fire at the demonstrators.

The video was taken by the IDF of the area just north of the town of Avivim, where hundreds of Palestinian refugees gathered on Sunday to participate in Nakba Day demonstrations against Israel. At one point, a group of the protesters rushed to the border but were pushed back by soldiers from the Lebanese Armed Forces.

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IDF soldiers also opened fire at the legs of some of the protesters who managed to penetrate the LAF perimeter and reach the border fence. Lebanese media reported that 10 people were killed. But senior IDF officers said on Monday that it was likely that most of the dead were killed by the LAF gunfire.

The decision not to release the video was made during consultations between the IDF and the Prime Minister’s Office, both of which were concerned that its release to the public could embarrass the LAF, and in turn deter the Lebanese army from responding aggressively the next time protesters try to storm the border.

The quality of the video was also said to be poor.

The IDF’s investigation into the breaching of Israel’s border with Syria continued on Monday, as the Engineering Corps repaired the damage caused to the fence where around 100 Palestinians infiltrated the Druze village of Majdal Shams.

The IDF probe is focusing on intelligence and operational failures that led to the incident.

There were conflicting reports regarding the number of Syrians killed in the clashes with IDF soldiers along the border. Sources in the Northern Command said on Monday that only one body had been returned from Israel to Syria and could not confirm Syrian media reports that Israeli gunfire killed two protesters.

At the same time, IDF officers downplayed reports of tension brewing between the Northern Command and Military Intelligence over the failures that led to the border infiltration on Sunday. The Northern Command had prepared for larger demonstrations near the Quneitra Crossing but not near Majdal Shams.

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Officers in the command said they did not have intelligence about the planned protest there.

Intelligence officers said information about the planned protests in Syria had been conveyed to the Northern Command but that it was “operationally impossible” to seal off over 200 kilometers of border to stop determined infiltrators.

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