Two mortar shells fired into the Golan Heights near the Quneitra Crossing Tuesday afternoon. The Quneitra Crossing is a ceasefire line crossing between Syrian controlled territory and the Israeli-occupied portion of the Golan Heights and is the only access point between Israel and Syria.
The rounds landed shortly after a secret visit from Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The projectiles hit the Golan without causing any injury or damage and IDF soldiers searched the area. However, beyond Israel’s northern boarder a battle is raging and Syria’s civil war is in full throttle. The mortars came from a village located only five miles from Quneitra.
This strategic area that is being fought over by rebels and Syrian forces is located only 25 miles from the Syrian capitol Damascus. If rebels take control of the border area they could use it as a base as they move toward the capitol.
The village also lies a short distance from the Jordan border. In recent months, there have been reports of rebel forces being trained in Jordan for operations against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces just over the boarder in Syria.
During Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit He underlined the Golan Heights importance to Israel. “Here’s the dividing line, on the Golan Heights, between the good and the bad,” he said. “The bad is what is happening on the Syrian side of the border.”
In March 2011 what began as peaceful protests, have since morphed into a civil war that has claimed more then 100,000 lives. In the past year Israel has taken in injured people brought across the boarder between Israel and Syria. Dozens of injured are taken in each month and brought to Israeli medical facilities. One of these facilities is a field hospital located on the Israeli side of the boarder. Netanyahu visited this hospital while he was in the area on Tuesday morning, where many of the injured are being treated.
A 21-year-old Syrian man from Daraa was among those receiving treatment at the Israeli field hospital. He has been recovering from a leg injury for three weeks and was released Tuesday morning. Before going back to war torn Syria, the man was asked if his view of Israel had changed. He replied: “It turns out to be the best State…the regime used to make us hate it, but it turned out to be the best country.”
Israel continues to show strong leadership from within, while it maintains strong humanitarian response in conflicts too close for comfort. Meanwhile its enemies fight amongst themselves failing to protect their citizens costing innocent people their lives. Despite what the State of Israel’s critics claim it is still the center of peace in the Middle East.