'Next Nakba Day will see 1 million dead'
Infiltration of Syrian protesters into Israel catches Majdal Shams residents by surprise. 'No one imagined they would actually cross the border,' says local resident; others infuriated by killing of protesters, say 'whole thing could have ended peacefully without casualties'
A day after Syrian citizens infiltrated the border into the Golan Heights village of Majdal Shams, local resident are still trying to digest the dramatic events and the death of four protesters in their village.
"We were shocked, no one imagined that someone would actually cross the border,' Majdal Shams resident Majdulin Marei Safdi told Ynet, "I left the office and suddenly heard gun fire."
Sadfi noted that she immediately rushed to pick up her daughter, whose school is located near the scene of the clashes.
Though she believes such incidents endanger the village residents, Safdi also said she understands the Syrian citizens who infiltrated across the border.
"All the things that are happening in the Arab world create a change in people's thoughts and give them the courage to take bold steps while believing that something can be changed. Personally, I would also be willing to go out and protest in these situations," she noted.
While some residents lauded the IDF for exercising restraint, others were furious over the killing of unarmed protestors.
IDF patrol in Majdal Shams (Photo: Avihu Shapira)
"The State of Israel and the IDF's aggressive behavior against the Syrians who crossed the border is a disgrace. They could have ended the whole thing peacefully without taking lives," said one of the residents.
Unlike Safdi, Majdal Shams resident Jameel abu-Jabar said he doesn’t think Sunday's events pose a threat to the residents of the village. "My kids asked about the incident yesterday and I tried to explain to them what happened and the meaning of the word 'Nakba,' because many kids don’t know."
Abu-Jabar noted that the presence of security forces in the village creates a feeling among the residents that the events will repeat themselves.
'IDF exercised restraint' (Photo: EPA)
"I say that next year there will be more than a million victims because the Syrian citizens who crossed the border yesterday came prepared to die as martyrs," noted Said abu-Salah.
Meanwhile, everything was back to normal on the Israel-Lebanon border, where a shooting incident on Sunday also stirred concern among local residents, reminding them of unpleasant memories from the Second Lebanon War.
"I live here ever since the community was established, and to be honest I was concerned on Sunday that after five quiet years we will have to spend a few days in the shelters," said Shlomi resident Chaim Waxman.
Commenting on the IDF's response to the incidents on the borders with Lebanon and Syria, Waxman said, "Israel's response to an attempt to undermine its sovereignty was restrained. I know that most residents were prepared to sit in shelters a few days if there would have been a need for stronger actions."
Hagai Einav contributed to this report
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