Haaretz reports a shoot-down of a Syrian fighter jet. What gives this story a bad taste is the claim that it went 800m into “Israeli territory”. Don’t get me wrong, violation of a country’s territory is violation of a territory. Only that the territory in question were the Golan Heights, land that the Israelis annexed in 1981 after having it captured from *drumroll* Syria in the Six Day War in 1967.
I guess the Golan Heights have become de-facto Israeli territory, but they are internationally considered disputed land. I don’t know how exact navigation of a Su-24 is, but 800m doesn’t seem a lot to me at the high velocities a fighter plane can reach.
Now, clearly the dispute over the territory means that Syria and Israel consider each other enemies. After all the Six Day War was waged in order to secure the territorial integrity of Israel, because the Golan Heights were of some strategic importance.
I just wonder whether the very real risk of loss of human life is justified in such a – excuse the pun – borderline scenario. Luckily there was no loss of human life as far as I gather. The pilots ejected before the hit by the missile.
Still, it leaves a bad taste to read how our media reports about it – basically taking the IDF reports at face value. Since censorship is rife inside Israel, it makes sense for correspondents working from there or the Israeli media to skip some details about the Golan Heights1, but for editors elsewhere in the world it’d make sense to mention all the facts.
- and I guess the public in Israel has a very decided view already on the matter of the Golan Heights [↩]