Israeli embassies worldwide received a memorandum from the Foreign Ministry Sunday evening, detailing Israel's planed PR approach to the violent events on the Syrian border.
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.
- Deadly clashes on Israel's borders with Syria, Lebanon
- IDF says handled border breach well
- Syria: Israel's actions criminal
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."
Protesters breaching the border (Photo: Reuters)
Former Chief of Staff Moshe Ya'alon also commented on Sunday's bloody events saying that violent incidents were proof that the struggle is for the very existence of the State of Israel and not just over borders.
The Arabs have a right to mark "Nakba day" but "as long as they deny their responsibility and mainly, the responsibility of their leaders in their own catastrophe – there will never be true peace."
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz also assigned full blame for Sunday's events to Syria: "The fact that the dictator Bashar Assad sends people to cross the border right in front of IDF soldiers knowing that they might be hurt or killed is very typical of dictators of his ilk. This is an example of who we are dealing with and what neighborhood we live in."
Meanwhile, IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant-General Benny Gantz arrived in Majdal Shams Sunday evening for a debriefing.
Gantz ordered IDF forces in all sectors to prepare for any scenario. GOC Northern Command engineers are mending the breached sections of the Israel-Syrian border fence.
IDF sources said that while the violent events of 'Nabka Day' created a complex reality security-wise, neither Syria nor Lebanon were interested in seeing tensions escalate further.
Still, defense establishment officials voiced concerned that terror groups may try to use the situation for an escalation on their part.
Shin Bet Chief Yoram Cohen warned Sunday that the current regional instability in the Middle East benefits extremist Islamist elements, adding that "the situation also affects existing threats and those we have ahead of us in the Palestinian arena.
Hanan Greenberg, Attila Somfalvi and Avital Lahav contributed to this report
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