Israeli Forces Attack Nonviolent Protesters In Golan Heights

Today, hundreds of Palestinians and Syrians marched in the occupied Golan Heights, protesting the Israeli military presence and confronting the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF).

At one point, the confrontation between the IDF and protesters turned violent, as the IDF responded to the demonstrators forcefully, using multiple means of force, including tear gas and live ammunition, resulting in the killing of at least a dozen demonstrators and the wounding of many more. Mustafa Barghouti, a famous independent Palestinian politician and a critic of terrorism and corruption, was among the protesters. He described the event to Al Jazeera:

“What we saw in the Golan heights, in front of the checkpoint to Jerusalem, were peaceful Palestinian demonstrators demanding their freedom and the end of occupation, which has become the longest in modern history.

“And they were encountered by terrible violence from Israel. They have used gunshots, tear gas, sound bombs and canisters emanating dangerous chemicals against demonstrators.

“They also beat us. I was one of those who was beaten today by the Israel soldiers today while we were peacefully trying to reach the checkpoint to Jerusalem.”

SkyNews had a reporter at the scene. Watch his dispatch:

The State Department responded to the events with the following statement: “We call for all sides to exercise restraint. Provocative actions like this should be avoided. Israel, like any sovereign nation, has a right to defend itself.”

It is certainly true that the demonstrators were engaged in provocative actions — they were attempting to breach a border Israel had set up, even if it is widely agreed to be illegitimate by international law. Yet the United States and international community have often implored Palestinians to take up their cause nonviolently. President Obama, in his Cairo address, used the analogy of Black South Africans who used civil disobedience to protest apartheid. (h/t: @maxblumenthal)