Israeli Troops Fire at Protesters on Golan

Posted June 5th, 2011 at 11:25 am (UTC-5)
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Israeli troops on Sunday fired at pro-Palestinian protesters who rushed the barbed-wire fence between Syria and the Israeli-held Golan Heights. Syrian media report that six protesters were killed, dozens more were wounded.

The protesters were marking the 44th anniversary of the Arab defeat in the 1967 Middle East war, defying Israeli warnings to stay clear of the boundary fence. Israel captured the Golan from Syria in that conflict.

The Israeli military accused Syrian authorities of instigating Sunday's disturbance to deflect attention from their crackdown on a popular uprising at home.

Israeli officials say they were determined to prevent a repeat of last month's deadly demonstrations during which thousands of Palestinians stormed Israel's borders with Syria and Lebanon. Those protests were on the anniversary of the creation of the state of Israel.

In a separate development, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he is considering an initiative by the French government to revive peace talks with the Palestinians. He told the Cabinet he first wants to discuss the proposal with the United States.

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe, who visited both Israel and the West Bank last week, has suggested that Israeli and Palestinian negotiators attend a peace conference in Paris at the end of next month. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas accepted the proposal on Saturday.