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News ::
BTL:Israel's Bombing of Syria Increases Fear of Regional Conflict (english)
17 Oct 2003
Interview with Robert Blecher, assistant professor of history, conducted by Between the Lines' Scott Harris
Israel's Bombing of Syria Increases Fear of Regional Conflict

Interview with Robert Blecher, assistant professor of history, conducted by Scott Harris

Not since the 1973 Middle East War have Israelis and Syrians attacked each other's territory. That 30-year cease-fire ended on Oct. 5, when Israel launched a pre-dawn bombing raid against what they described as a terrorist training camp just 15 miles northwest of the Syrian capitol Damascus. The government of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said the attack was launched in retaliation for a Palestinian suicide bombing the day before in Haifa, which killed 20 people.

The Syrians stated that the camp which was bombed had long ago been abandoned, and denied the accusation from Washington and Israel that their government harbored members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad who regularly carry out attacks inside Israel. Syria immediately introduced a resolution at the U.N. Security Council condemning the Israeli attack. But the Bush administration, which had withheld public criticism of Israel's air strike, threatened to veto the Syrian resolution.

While Syria's military is widely believed to be unable to stop any future Israeli attack, spokespersons for the government of Bashar al-Assad said their nation will respond with all means possible in case that aggression is repeated. Growing anger in the Arab street fueled concern around the world that any similar Israeli offensive against its neighbors could trigger a new regional Middle East conflict. Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Robert Blecher, assistant professor of history at the University of Richmond, who assesses reaction in the Middle East to Israel's recent bombing raid against Syria.

Robert Blecher is a regular contributor to Middle East Report. Contact Middle East Report by calling (202) 233-3677 or visit their website at

Related links:

"Israel/Occupied Territories: Wanton Destruction Constitutes a War Crime," Amnesty International, Oct. 14, 2003

"The origin of the Palestine-Israeli conflict," Jews for Justice, April 5, 2002

"Background to the Israel-Palestine Crisis," by Stephen R. Shalom, Z Magazine, May 2002

"Middle East Time Line," by Stephen R. Shalom, Z Magazine, (revised, Dec. 12, 2001) ZNet Middle East Watch, History and Context, a resource page featuring articles, links and resources explaining the history of the Israel-Palestine conflict and providing contextual background information.

"Ten Years After Oslo," by Catherine Cook, Traverse City Record-Eagle (Traverse City, Mich.), September 2003

LISTEN to this week's half-hour program of Between The Lines by clicking on one of the links below:
"Between The Lines" is a half-hour syndicated radio news magazine that each week features a summary of under-reported news stories and interviews with activists and journalists who offer progressive perspectives on international, national and regional political, economic and social issues. Because "Between The Lines" is independent of all publications, media networks or political parties, we are able to bring a diversity of voices to the airwaves generally ignored or marginalized by the major media. For more information on this week's topics and to check out our text archive listing topics and guests presented in previous programs visit:
"Between the Lines," WPKN 89.5 FM's weekly radio news magazine can be heard Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m. ET; Wednesdays at 8 a.m. ET and Saturdays at 2 p.m. ET (Wednesday's show airs at 7:30 a.m. ET during fundraising months of April and October).
For an email subscription of "Between The Lines Weekly Summary" which features a RealAudio link to the week's program for Between The Lines, send an email to btlsummary-subscribe (at)
For an email subscription of "Between The Lines Q&A" which features a RealAudio link and weekly transcript to one of the interviews featured on Between The Lines, send an email to btlqa-subscribe (at)
betweenthelines (at)
Distributed by Squeaky Wheel Productions
2003 Between The Lines. All Rights Reserved.
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