White House: Israel has a right to defend borders

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The White House said Israel has a right to defend itself from unauthorized border crossings and blamed Syria for "inciting" violence.

White House spokesman Jay Carney on Monday addressed incidents along Israel’s Lebanon, Syria and Gaza Strip borders the day before in which Palestinians marking Israel’s 1948 founding attempted to cross over. 

"Israel, like all countries, has the right to prevent unauthorized crossings at its borders," Carney said. "Its neighbors have a responsibility to prevent such activity. We urge maximum restraint on all sides."

Israel opened fire on the rioters, killing as many as four on the border with the Golan Heights, captured by Israel from Syria in 1967. As many as 10 protesters were killed on the border with Lebanon, though Israel says most were likely killed by Lebanese troops.

Carney echoed Israel’s charge that Syria’s Assad regime was to blame for allowing the protesters to approach the Israeli border.

"We’re also strongly opposed to the Syrian government’s involvement in inciting yesterday’s protests in the Golan Heights," he said. "Such behavior is unacceptable and does not serve as a distraction from the Syrian government’s ongoing repression of demonstrators in its own country."

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