Syrian infiltrator found in Majdal Shams - Police check vehicles leaving Druze village as Druze residents praise army's restraint on 'Nakba Day':
"Though the soldiers were pelted by stones from both sides at once, and despite there being a number of injuries among them, I heard a commander ordering them to refrain from firing at protesters at all costs," according to a Majdal Shams resident.
Latest Update: 05.16.11
Israeli embassies worldwide received a memorandum from the Foreign Ministry Sunday evening - The memorandum asked all Israeli officials stationed abroad to emphasize in interviews with the foreign media that since the Syrian military is in control of the northern border crossings, the protesters who rushed the border would not have been able to approach the border – let alone infiltrated the village of Majdal Shams – without the Syrian military's knowledge and consent.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered security forces to exercise maximum restrained: "We hope to see the calm reinstalled as soon as possible, but make no mistake – we are determined to defend our borders and sovereignty," he said.
Netanyahu stressed that contrary to statements made by "Nakba Day" protests' organizers, "Their fight isn’t about the 1967 borders, but the very undermining of the State of Israel. It is important that we face reality and know who and what we are dealing with."
The 'Nakba Day' aftermath continued into Monday as police arrested an Israeli-Arab cab driver suspected of attempting to help a Syrian who infiltrated the border on Sunday leave the Druz town of Majdal Shams.
Officers deployed at the entrance to the town stopped the cab in the early morning hours, and found that the 30-year old passenger inside had no identification papers.
A closer inspection revealed that the passenger was a Syrian citizen, and apparently one of the many who trampled the border fence Sunday and crossed into Israel to take refuge in the Druze town.
Following Sunday's violence along the border, which killed four Syrian civilians, police have set up checkpoints at the village in order to keep anyone who may still be hiding there from traveling deeper into Israel. Officers say they will continue to check every vehicle in order to restore order.
In addition, police and Border Guard officers continue to operate within Majdal Shams, in cooperation with Druze leaders.
'Troops ordered to hold fire at all costs'
Meanwhile many residents of the Druze village said they were pleasantly surprised by the IDF's ability to maintain restraint in the face of violence directed against soldiers Sunday.
"Though the soldiers were pelted by stones from both sides at once, and despite there being a number of injuries among them, I heard a commander ordering them to refrain from firing at protesters at all costs," Ali, a Majdal Shams resident, told Ynet after witnessing the events.
He added that the soldiers fired into the air at first and then, only when the rioters began closing in on all sides, did they begin to fire at their feet. "The restraint shown by the IDF today brought peace this evening. It could have ended very differently," he said.
Suleiman, who owns a candy store in the village, also claimed the army behaved wisely. "The IDF was very smart in not making things worse and being tolerant," he said. Suleiman says he closed up shop to witness the events on the border live. "I saw just ten soldiers and thousands of protesters," he recalled.
He added that the Palestinian infiltrators walked around the village and told the Israelis they had not forgotten about their land until Druze mediators asked them to return home.
"I couldn't believe my eyes. I saw Syrian Palestinians cross the border, the mines, the fences, everything. It shows how much courage and faith these people have. They didn't care if they died," Suleiman said.
Photo - IDF fixes border fence Monday
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