The Israeli military has posted a video on YouTube threatening violence against unarmed protestors in Syria’s Golan Heights.
Media reports say that several people were shot and killed today as marchers commemorating the 44th anniversary of the Israeli occupation – the Naksa – gathered near the Israeli-controlled frontier between Syrian-controlled and Israeli-occupied sections of the Golan Heights.
The brief video titled “Warning Issued by the IDF to Rioters Near Majdal Shams” shows an Israeli soldier sitting in a vehicle speaking into a public address system in poor Arabic. There is no way to independently verify when or where the video posted on the Israeli army’s YouTube channel was taken or whether anyone could hear the threats of violence. The words of the Israeli soldier translated:
Young people, Stop! You are violating an international border. We warn you not to touch military targets. Anyone who attempts to touch our hegemony or targets is in danger and will be shot. Go back to Syria.
Contrary to the Israeli warning, there is no “international border” in the Golan Heights, which Israel has occupied since 1967. The entire territory is part of Syria.
In 1981, Israel purported to annex the Golan Heights however this was declared illegal by the UN Security Council. Resolution 497 states:
Reaffirming that the acquisition of territory by force is inadmissible, in accordance with the United Nations Charter, the principles of international law, and relevant Security Council resolutions,
- Decides that the Israeli decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights is null and void and without international legal effect;
- Demands that Israel, the occupying Power, should rescind forthwith its decision;
- Determines that all the provisions of the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August 1949 continue to apply to the Syrian territory occupied by Israel since June 1967;
Israel’s posting of the warning may be an effort to justify, or create a pretext for the shooting of unarmed protestors. However such acts are very likely war crimes under the Fourth Geneva Convention.
In recent days as reports of planned protests circulated in the media, senior Israeli military commanders announced their intention in advance to use lethal force against civil protests.