Protesters, Israeli Troops Clash At Border
(SOUNDBITE OF GUNFIRE)
GUY RAZ, Host:
Phil, first of all, what happened?
PHILIP REEVES: Another crowd gathered not far away from there, a little to the east, in a border town in Syria that abuts the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. Reports say that that crowd comprised Palestinian refugees. And the Israeli military says that the crowd were trying to infiltrate Israeli-controlled territory. Israeli forces opened fire there too. And again, there were several more fatalities.
RAZ: These demonstrations, Phil, are held annually. What explains the level of violence this year?
REEVES: However, it is true that the Palestinians are in a buoyant mood right now. They feel that their cause has gained new traction because of the reconciliation after a long and messy feud between their two main factions, Hamas and Fatah.
RAZ: Now, Israel is accusing both Syria and Iran of organizing these demonstrations; the Israelis say to divert attention away from recent protests in Syria. Is there any evidence of that?
REEVES: Plus, remember, that President Obama is about to make a big speech on the Middle East. So there is a lot at stake right now.
RAZ: That's NPR's Philip Reeves in Jerusalem.
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