Ambulance attacked in northern Israel by Druse protesters..
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Druse leaders strongly condemned the two attacks against Israeli military ambulances carrying wounded people from Syria, telling The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday that they are trying to calm tensions and deal with the small group of people perpetrating the assaults.
Sheikh Maufak Tarif, the head of the Druse community in Israel, said that Druse leaders met on Tuesday morning at the grave of Nabi Shu’ayb, a pilgrimage site near Tiberias, and voiced their opposition to the attacks and discussed how to calm the situation.
There are specific people that are inciting, claimed Tarif.
“We think the prime minister is handling the situation with wisdom,” he said, adding that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was wise not to decide to intervene militarily in Syria.
On Monday, Druse on the Golan Heights twice attacked ambulances carrying wounded Syrians, and the second attack resulted in the death of one of the Syrians. Two IDF personnel were wounded in the assault.
Dolan Abu Saleh, the mayor of Majdal Shams, a Druse town located on the Golan Heights, told the Post that he knows the people who are perpetrating these attacks and that they “do not represent anyone.”
The Druse are against these attacks, he said, claiming the perpetrators come from a small group of known troublemakers.
Every community has these kinds of delinquents, he continued.
“We have sent a message to these people that this cannot happen again,” he said.
Druse Deputy Regional Cooperation Minister Ayoub Kara said that even though the Druse are going through a difficult situation, “no event justifies the attack on an ambulance.”
“I condemn the attack, it is immoral and certainly nobody should endanger the lives of soldiers or civilians,” said Kara.
The IDF declined to elaborate on the identities of the Syrians who were in the ambulance, but IDF spokesman Brig.-Gen.
Moti Almoz said that “the IDF has not aided the organization Jabhat al-Nusra since the fighting began in Syria four years ago,” Channel 2 reported.
Meanwhile, Syrian state media praised the Druse villagers for attacking the military ambulance they said was carrying two insurgents from a group fighting President Bashar Assad.
A report by Syrian state news agency SANA described the Druse villagers as “heroic Syrian young men” and identified the insurgents as members of the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front.
SANA said the Druse had inflicted “the punishment on them for their participation in the aggression on the mother homeland, Syria, and its people.”
The incidents reflect rising Druse agitation over what the community sees as Israel’s failure to help embattled Druse brethren in Syria while offering medical aid to Syrian civilians, which they accuse Israel of including jihadists.
Rebel advances toward Druse areas in southern Syria and a mass killing of Druse by Nusra Front fighters in the northwest have fueled fears among the minority.
Insurgents last week launched a new offensive against the Syrian military and allied militia in the southwestern province of Quneitra on the border with Israel. Their advance near the Druse village of Hader in the area has compounded Druse concerns that their minority faces a risk from the insurgency.
Nusra Front fighters earlier this month shot dead at least 20 Druse villagers in the northwestern province of Idlib.