The White House has condemned Syria's role in facilitating protests along Israel's border that resulted in the deaths of at least 13 people over the weekend.
"We are also strongly opposed to the Syrian government's involvement in inciting yesterday's protests in the Golan Heights," said spokesman Jay Carney. "Such behavior is unacceptable and does not serve as a distraction from the Syrian government's ongoing repression of demonstrators in its own country."
Efforts to breach Israel's borders by protestors occurred amid Syria's brutal repression of anti-goverment demonstrations. Mass demonstrations throughout the region marked the 63rd anniversary of Israel's declaration of statehood, an event Palestinians call the "Nakba," meaning "catastrophe." Tens of thousands of Palestinians and their supporters gathered along Israel's borders Sunday and some tried to cross into Israel in an effort to reassert their perceived right of return to the land they say they were displaced from in Israel's 1948 war for independence.
Israeli forces opened fire on those trying to cross into Israel from Syria, Lebanon, and the Gaza Strip and claimed responsibility for three deaths. Israeli officials blame Iran for what they see as an attempt by the Islamic Republic to divert the Arab revolt against the Syrian regime towards Israel.
"We are seeing here an Iranian provocation, on both the Syrian and the Lebanese frontiers, to try to exploit the Nakba Day commemorations," Israeli military spokesman Brig. Gen. Yoav Mordechai said. "The radical axis of Iran, Hizbullah, Hamas is very clear. This [infiltration] bore the fingerprints of Iran."
Israel plans to file a complaint in the United Nations against Syria and Lebanon for violating international law and UN Security Council Resolutions when they failed to stop protestors from breaching Israel's borders. The new military government in Egypt, on the other hand, quashed a Nakba Day protest outside Israel's embassy in Cairo, injuring 350 people. Similarly, Jordanian police prevented more than 500 people from marching on Israel's border, injuring 25 protestors in the process.
The mass protests and efforts to infiltrate Israel represent the largest escalation of violence in the Arab-Israeli conflict in years. Since hundreds of Palestinian protestors were injured in clashes with Israel Defense Forces in the West Bank, Gaza, and within Israel, officials are concerned that hostilities will continue even with the passing of Nakba Day.
"Yesterday's events could prove to be the harbinger of events yet to come in the immediate future," said an IDF official.