Israel lodges formal complaint to UN on border violence

Israeli Ambassador to UN Meron Reuben sends two letters to Ban Ki-Moon; decries 'Nakba Day' incidents at Syria, Lebanon borders.

May 17, 2011 03:11
3 minute read.
Israeli Ambassador to the UN Meron Reuben

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Meron Reuben 311. (photo credit: Shahar Azran)

NEW YORK – Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Meron Reuben sent two letters to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and the Security Council on Monday, lodging formal complaints as to incidents Sunday on the Israel-Syria border and on the Israeli-Lebanon border.

Reuben wrote that on Sunday, a group of “hundreds of individuals” in Syria tore down the Alpha Fence, “in breach of the agreed disengagement line between Israel and Syria.” In Majdal Shams, the demonstrators carried out “a violent demonstration against Israel Defense Forces,” Reuben wrote.

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Ban Ki-Moon calls for restraint after 'Nakba Day' protests
Nakba Day protesters return to Syria from Majdal Shams

Similarly, in another letter, Reuben wrote that on Sunday, hundreds of individuals near the village of Maroun al-Ras in Lebanon sought to breach the Blue Line and infiltrate Israel using violence.

“The IDF acted according to its instructions to operate with maximum restraint in confronting the significant threat of violence facing it,” Reuben wrote in the Syria letter, using similar language in the letter dealing with the Blue Line. “Any harm caused to the individuals involved in these violent demonstrations lies clearly with the Government of Syria, which is responsible for preventing infiltration of the agreed disengagement line between Israel and Syria.”

Israel had been aware, Reuben wrote, of the “explosive potential of plans for violent incidents on the so-called ‘Nakba Day’” on the 63rd anniversary of Israel’s independence.

“Despite these warnings from Israel, violent demonstrators broke down fences and crossed over the agreed disengagement line from the Syrian side,” Reuben wrote. “All signs indicate that this incident could not have taken place or been organized without the knowledge of the Syrian authorities, who in previous years have helped to ensure that protests on the so-called “Nakba Day” occurred peacefully.”

Similarly, Reuben wrote in his Lebanon letter, “Any harm caused to theindividuals involved in these violent demonstrations lies clearly with the Government of Lebanon, which is responsible for preventing any infiltration of the Blue Line or provocations in its vicinity. Such actions constitute a clear violation of Security Council resolution 1701.”

“This breach of the disengagement line between Israel and Syria from the Syrian side raises disturbing questions about whether certain actors in our region are seeking to such provocations as a cynical distraction from other issues,” Reuben wrote pointedly, iterating the point that Israel expects Syria to take appropriate measures to make sure such incidents do not recur.

Reuben also wrote that Israel expects the international community to come to their defense, and to seek to stop actions that “carry with them the serious potential for escalation.”

“It is obvious that those behind these incidents are seeking to advance a radical and destructive agenda,” Reuben wrote.

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“Like many in our region, the leaders of these violent demonstrations have stated clearly and repeatedly that they do not accept Israel’s right to exist – and their goal is to destroy it. Yesterday’s events are part of a disturbing pattern of action taken by extremist forces that seek to spark provocation with Israel.”

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