For the past half century, Syrians have despised Israel, and, by extension, the Jews in general. But right now, they wish more than anything that they could have it as good as the Palestinians and live under "Israeli occupation."
"Let Israel come and take Syria. Let the Jews come - anything is better than [Syrian dictator] Bashar Assad," a frightened pro-democracy protester told the Associated Press by telephone during a government crackdown on Monday.
Violent military and police raids in the southwestern Syria town of Daraa on Monday are believed to have claimed at least 25 lives, including a number of children.
Those who were able to contact foreign media spoke of a highly-planned offensive by government forces that included cutting water, electricity and mobile phone services to the town.
With Daraa cut off from the world, knife-wielding security agents then reportedly went house to house searching for pro-democracy activists, while snipers and tanks opened fire on those who dared to gather in the streets.
The Assad regime insists it is dealing with an American and Israeli plot to overthrow it. But the protesters say they just want what activists in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya hope they will ultimately achieve - democratic freedom.
Hundreds have been killed since the demonstrations began in Syria weeks ago. The Obama Administration has condemned the violence, but has stopped far short of demanding Assad step down, as it did with former Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak and defiant Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
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