An Israeli woman looks on as smoke rises near the Quneitra Crossing as seen from the Israeli Golan Heights August 27, 2014. (Flash90)
Neri Zilber, Daily Beast: How Israel Plays Syria’s Civil War
After half a decade sitting out the conflagration across its border, is Israel about to pick a side?
GOLAN HEIGHTS — Signs of war are clearly evident when peering into Syria from the Israeli side of the Golan Heights: bombed-out villages, forests hastily chopped down for firewood, refugee encampments. But above all there is the desolation and quiet.
One village sitting almost on the border line seems to be deserted, save for an incongruous shepherd and his flock and, eventually, one or two trucks moving in the distance. This is a change from previous years, when “war tourists,” Israeli and foreign, flocked to this frontier for front-row seats to the worst show on Earth: plumes of gray smoke from mortar shells, sounds of gunfire, multi-vehicle offensives by one Syrian rebel group or another.
Especially at the start of the Syrian civil war, when such things were novel, Israeli military officers would sit at the Coffee Annan café on Mt. Bental, overlooking the vast Golan plain, and through binoculars observe what one officer termed “the laboratory of terror” below. The “experiments” in this laboratory sometimes crossed into the Israeli side, with rockets over villages, roadside bombs on the border fence, and small arms fire; several Israeli army personnel have been seriously injured and at least one civilian has been killed.
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WNU Editor: Israel wants the status quo .... from their point of view .... having them keep on killing each other off is better than having them direct their weapons at Israel.