Socialist Worker

Israeli soldiers murder unarmed protesters in Golan Heights

by Siân Ruddick
Issue No. 2255

Israeli soldiers murdered 23 people last Sunday during protests against its occupation of Syria’s Golan Heights. They injured another 350 protesters.

Israel has tried to play down the incident. It claims that “only” ten people were killed and that the Syrian government engineered the protest to distract from the brutal crackdown on its own uprising.

But these are lies, typical of those told by Israel about its actions, and usually backed up by the West.

Sunday’s demonstrations marked the 44th anniversary of the 1967 Six Day War—when Israel grabbed the Golan Heights, the West Bank and Gaza.

It has occupied and dominated the areas since, oppressing the Palestinians who live there.

The Arab revolt has seen Israel lose its key ally Hosni Mubarak in Egypt.

The revolutions have also inspired Palestinians to step up their struggle against Israel.

They are demanding the right to return to their homeland, which Zionist militias ethnically cleansed in 1948 during the birth of Israel.

That is why hundreds of ordinary, unarmed people ran towards the Israeli-erected fence in Majdal Shams in the Golan Heights on Sunday.

Salman Fakhreddin, who was born and lives in the occupied town, said, “When these people reached the ceasefire line, the Israeli forces were well prepared with snipers.

“They began firing live bullets—they were shooting to kill.

“During the afternoon and at beginning of the night, they started firing tear gas and rubber bullets.

“They decided to kill people in order to frighten them not to continue with the demonstration.”


Israel gets over a third of its water supply from the Golan Heights and systematically steals its mineral and natural wealth.

But the recent change in the region is worrying its rulers, and the Western powers that back Israel.

The military council currently governing Egypt has opened the Rafah border crossing into Gaza.

This means that Palestinians can access food and resources banned by the Israelis for the first time in five years.

And even Israel’s staunch ally the US has made noises of criticism.

Barack Obama has alternated between the usual fawning attitude and tough

talking to Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Obama has criticised the illegal settlements Israel continues to build on stolen land.

But the US carries on selling billions of dollars worth of arms to the country because it needs Israel to help police the region in its interests.

The continuing Arab revolutions, particularly in Egypt, will be key to liberating Palestine and removing imperialist influence from the Middle East.

Click here to subscribe to our daily morning email newsletter 'Breakfast in red'

Article information

Tue 7 Jun 2011, 18:23 BST
Issue No. 2255
Share this article


Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.