Netanyahu: Israel will prevent another border breach


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said yesterday that Israel would act with restraint, but decisively, to prevent a crossing of its borders when Palestinians plan a mass protest along its frontiers next week.

“Like any country in the world, Israel has the right and duty to guard and defend its borders. Therefore my instructions are clear, to act with restraint, but with the necessary decisiveness to protect our borders, our communities and our citizens,” Netanyahu said in a speech in Jerusalem.

Thirteen people were killed last month when Israeli troops tried to prevent thousands of Palestinian protesters who had surged towards its frontiers from crossing its borders with Syria, Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.

Palestinians are planning to stage a similar protest on Sunday, which comes in response to another call on Facebook to cross Israel’s borders on the 44th anniversary of the start of the 1967 Middle East War in which Israel captured East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and Golan Heights.

Netanyahu said the clashes on May 15, when Palestinians mourned what many Arabs call the “nakba,” or catastrophe, of Israel’s founding in a 1948 war, were a provocation meant to undermine Israel’s sovereignty.

Dozens of Palestinians managed to penetrate the border from Syria into the Golan Heights. Most were returned later that day.

He said Iran, Syria, and their allies the Islamist groups Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza were responsible for inciting the previous demonstration and would try to repeat it in the coming days.

The United States accused the Syrian government of inciting last month’s deadly clashes, saying Damascus was trying to distract attention from its own violent crackdown on protests.

Many analysts and commentators in Israel said the military had been caught off-guard by the huge flood of protesters, and defence officials said afterwards that the army would be better prepared in the future.