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Israel Just Took Over the Golan Demilitarized Buffer Zone

Israeli military bulldozers backed by tanks have crossed into the demilitarized zone dividing the Israeli and Syrian Golan borders. They are building a line of fortifications and anti-tank trenches 300-500 meters inside the DMZ.

This is the first time in the six-year Syrian war that the IDF has openly operated on the Syrian side of the border. The force has not so far run into opposition- or indeed any word of protest – or even mention – by Assad regime officials in Damascus.

The sole reference to Israeli military movements in the DMZ has come from a small Syrian rebel group which described them.

debkafile’s military sources report that the IDF operation was still going forward Wednesday, July 12, on a patch of terrain facing the Israeli Golan village of Ein Zivan, on the one hand, and the Syrian town of Quneitra, on the other.

The enclave splitting the Golan between Syria and Israel is defined in the 1974 armistice agreements as a demilitarized zone under the military control of the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) and Syrian civilian administration. It is bounded by two strips of land around 10km deep where each side is permitted to maintain diluted military strength. No ground-to-air missiles may be deployed inside a 25km radius from the DMZ.

It was agreed that Syrian nationals forced by the October 1973 war and its aftermath to leave their homes would be able to return. Ruined Quneitra was later handed back to Syria against a commitment by its government to repopulate the town and ban terrorist activity and infiltrations of Israel from the Golan sector.

Both commitments were given orally to the US government.

However, the Syrian war as it unfolded in the last two years turned the deal on its head. The UN observers abandoned their posts, leaving behind a void that was partly filled by Syrian troops and a motley assortment of rebel groups.

But the DMZ was left mostly unoccupied as both Israel and Syria tried to preserve at least the semblance of the deal intact. However, Assad’s allies Iran and Hizballah have repeatedly attempted to plant a forward military and terrorist presence opposite Israel’s Golan defense lines – with avowed hostile intent.

The silence from Damascus on Israel’s military steps on the Golan may be no more than a respite as the Syrian ruler waits for Tehran’s endorsement of joint Syrian-Iranian-Hizballah counteraction.

Our sources add that IDF military steps on the ground were accompanied by unusual Israeli Air Force movements over Syria and Lebanon, and elevated preparedness on the 10thanniversary this week of the Lebanon war fought between Hizballah and Israel.

It was noted that Hizballah refrained from celebrating the occasion and omitted its customary boasts of a “great victory” – thereby intensifying the sense in Israeli military circles that Iran’s Lebanese proxy may be cooking up a surprise operation.Schermata 2016 07 18 alle 23.15.17

Video of the Week New Clashes Erupt Between Israeli Security Forces, Muslim Worshippers

Temple Mount temporarily closed to Jewish visitors after clashes with police




The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.802141

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