16 July 2013
This morning, mortar fire shook the early quiet for the communities of Northern Israel. The fasting and prayers of thousands of Israelis commemorating the Jewish holiday of Tisha B’Av were interrupted by a barrage of mortar shells fired from Syria. At the same time, and in a grave violation of the 1974 Separation of Forces Agreement, tanks, trucks and armored vehicles belonging to Syrian government forces entered the buffer zone.
The violence that has shaken Syria is sending shockwaves throughout the region and threatening to further destabilize the Middle East. For two years, Israelis on the northern border have lived with the chaos and uncertainty of a war that threatens to spill over into their backyard. It is only a matter of time before a rocket or mortar shot from Syria falls on an Israeli home.
Israel has thus far shown maximum restraint and issued numerous warnings through UNDOF. However, the Israeli government will not allow its citizens to be the ongoing victims of these attacks and will continue to exercise its right to self-defense, as appropriate, and take all necessary measures to protect its population.
I urge the Security Council to condemn the incident and the Syrian government’s grave violation of the Separation of Forces Agreement. I should be grateful if you would have this letter distributed as an official document of the Security Council. I wish to inform you that an identical letter has been sent to H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations. Allow me, Excellency, to renew to you the assurances of my highest consideration.