In this week’s Heritage in Focus podcast, Heritage Middle East expert Jim Phillips reflects on the current unrest between Israel and Syria. To listen to the full interview, click here.

A few days ago marked the anniversary of “nakba,” or “the day of catastrophe,” for Palestinians and their Arab allies. That day is May 15, 1948: The day Israel gained its independence.

Israel’s foremost enemies, Syria, Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah, mobilized Palestinian militants recruited from refugee camps in Lebanon, Syria and Gaza to demonstrate against Israel by marching up to the border to violently attack Israeli border guards and fences. Every year protests take place, but this year was especially hostile. Protestors, chanting death to Israel, threw rocks and bottles at Israeli forces. After Palestinian aggression escalated, hundreds of Arabs burst across the border. The Israelis, in an act of self-defense, fired shots at the protestors who were charging at them.

This is a crude and transparent attempt by Syria’s brutal Assad regime to divert international attention from the bloody repression of its own people (Assad has recently murdered over 850 of his own people) by whipping up condemnation of Israel.

President Obama is slated to give a foreign policy address this Thursday. He should emphasize the need for the world to keep up heavy pressure on both Syria and Iran.

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