Israelis soldiers repair the border fence on May 16, 2011 after protesters crossed from Syria into the Golan Heights
Israelis soldiers repair the border fence on May 16, 2011 after protesters crossed from Syria into the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights. © Jack Guez - AFP
Israelis soldiers repair the border fence on May 16, 2011 after protesters crossed from Syria into the Golan Heights
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AFP
Last updated: October 19, 2011

Israel, Lebanon make rival UN protests over clashes

Israel and Lebanon filed rival protests to the United Nations over deadly clashes involving thousands of Palestinian demonstrators who converged on Israel's borders, diplomats said.

Israel blamed Lebanon and Syria for the 14 deaths and hundreds wounded when its troops shot at the thousands of Palestinian demonstrators who crossed the border. Lebanon accused Israel of using "excessive force" against unarmed civilians.

The clashes erupted in the occupied Golan Heights, across from Syria, on the border with Lebanon, and in the West Bank and northern Gaza Strip as Palestinians marked the anniversary of Israel's founding in 1948.

Israel's UN ambassador Meron Reuben called the demonstrations a "dangerous provocation" in letters to the Security Council and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

He insisted that the Israeli army had shown "maximum restraint in confronting the significant threat of violence."

"Any harm caused to the individuals involved in these violent demonstrations lies clearly with" Lebanon and Syria, Reuben added in the letters.

In the case of the Golan Heights protests, Reuben said Syrian authorities must have helped to organize the incidents.

Referring to anti-government protests in Syria, he added that Sunday's mass protest "raises disturbing questions about whether certain actors in our region are seeking to such provocations as a cynical distraction from other issues."

Lebanon's ambassador, Nawaf Salam, said Israeli troops "opened fire" on unarmed protesters despite Lebanese troops taking "tight security measures" to escort the group on the demarcation line between the two countries.

He said the killings underline "Israel’s aggressive nature, as it did not hesitate to use excessive force against civilians in blatant contravention of international law and customs."

Lebanon, which has one of the rotating seats on the 15-nation Security Council, demanded that the council "pressure Israel to renounce its belligerent and provocative policy toward Lebanon and hold it responsible" for the deaths.

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