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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Suspects arrested in Druze attack on ambulances in Golan Heights

Nine Druze from Israel and the Golan Heights have been arrested and charged with the Monday lynching of two wounded Syrians, who were being brought to Israel by ambulance for treatment, in the Golan Heights near the Syrian border.

Inflamed by media reports suggesting some of the hundreds of wounded Syrians who have been admitted to Israel for medical care belong to jihadi rebel groups fighting the Druze in Syria, the crowds of Druze blocked two army ambulances for inspection.

One ambulance managed to escape with crew and patients unharmed. In the other, a Syrian casualty was killed and another seriously wounded in what Israeli officials described as a lynching. Two troops accompanying them were also injured.

Radical Islamists see the Druze, whose religion is an offshoot of Islam, as apostates to be combated. Druze in Syria and many in the Golan Heights, which Israel captured from Syria in 1967, have long been loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.

Damascus's official news agency SANA on Tuesday described those behind the lethal ambulance attack as "heroic Syrian young men" and alleged they had targeted wounded insurgents from the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front.

Israel's stated policy is to offer medical treatment to Syrians regardless of possible affiliation to armed groups. 

Druze communal and spiritual leaders from Israel and the Golan mobilized to stem further flare-ups, issuing an edict on Tuesday warning any Druze engaging in such violence that they risked ostracism from the close-knit sect. 
The West has never understood how much of the Middle East is tribal and clan-based. The 'countries' in the Middle East were creations of  the era following World War I, and to this day, most of these peoples' loyalty is to their tribes and clans and not to the countries in which they nominally live. The Druze support Assad because they are a minority like him (Assad is an Alawite) and because they fear the Islamists (who consider them apostates) even more.

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At 4:22 PM, Blogger Empress Trudy said...

The NYT no doubt is struggling with how to blame this on the Jews. I suppose they'll have to limp away with something like "Israeli extremists and members of cult reputedly to be an offshoot of an obscure brand of Islam" or something like that.

At 11:12 PM, Blogger Mordechai Y. Scher said...

"from Israel *and* the Golan Heights..."

Uh, the Golan is part of Israel. Biblically (the Bashan) and modern legally (annexed in '81).

At 12:34 AM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...

Mordechai Y. Sher,

I was actually thinking that as I was writing the post, but decided to go with the language in the story. Time stresses....


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