Druse leaders representing the community on the Israeli side of the Golan Heights called on Israeli authorities Friday to release the youths who were arrested for allegedly taking part in the lynching of wounded Syrians who were being transported to hospital in the North earlier this week.
One Syrian was killed in the attack and another suffered severe injuries. A number of IDF soldiers who were accompanying the injured Syrians in the ambulance were also hurt in the fracas.
The leaders called for the release of the Druse youth during a meeting convened by senior clerics in the northern Golan town of Majdal Shams, not far from where the incident took place.
Amateur video of the lynching surfaced on Israeli television news shows on Friday evening. In the footage, one can clearly see an excited mob celebrating the violent beating of the injured Syrians.
Druse leaders have suspected that Israel is providing medical care to Islamists who have been involved in attacking their brethren in Syria, a charge Israel denies.
Following the Majdal Shams gathering on Friday, the Druse leadership published a statement praising the attack on the ambulance as “a heroic deed.”
“The act of heroism carried out by these courageous youngsters represents the occupied Syrian Golan Heights in their defense of their honor and their homeland,” the statement read.
The statement even alleged that the event was staged and fabricated.
“The fact that there people there filming the event leads us to believe that this was pre-planned,” it alleged.
The document goes on to refer to Israel as “the occupation,” warning that it would be held responsible for the fate of the arrested youths. The statement also contains an implied threat that more such incidents could follow.
“We, the people of the Golan Heights, who are standing proudly on our land, will not allow terrorists free passage through our villages,” the statement read. “Those who carry out massacres, like the Nusra Front, of young people, the elderly, and women, have no rights.”