By Yossi Melman
The rebel takeover of the Syrian Golan shows how changing events affect Israel’s security doctrine
Twelve hours after Israelis sighed in relief as the ceasefire in the Gaza war appeared to take hold, they awoke Wednesday morning to realize that a new source of concern had emerged on their northern border. Syrian opposition forces, after fierce battles with the Syrian army, had taken over Syria’s Quneitra border crossing with Israel on the Golan Heights.
The crossing is the only official gate between Syria and Israel, manned by the United Nations Disengagement Observation Force since the end of the 1973 Arab-Israeli war. Reports that the Nusra Front – Islamists identified with al-Qaida and supported by Saudi Arabia and Qatar – were the ones who had seized control of the area only increased Israeli concern. That concern was somewhat eased hours later, when new reports suggested that the secular unit of the Free Syrian Army was in control of the crossing, rather than the fundamentalist Muslim group.
Nevertheless, the incidents in Quneitra are a wake-up call for Israel, demonstrating how the changing events in the Middle East, from the advances of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, to turmoil in Libya and the Gaza war, are affecting old Israeli security doctrines and stability.
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