The Occupied Golan Symbol of Steadfastness

Sons, who are living in the occupied Golan, were and are still determined to symbolize their loyalty to the motherland Syria. They are facing Zionist terrorism by steadfastness, despite all Israeli desperate attempts to eliminate the Golan Heights' identity.

An identity reflects the Syrian right by rejecting the Israeli prison's bars, repression and its abuse.

Zionist entity will not be able to impose Israeli identity, our children in the occupied Golan are a symbol of steadfastness, they insist on resisting brutal Israeli aggression despite all the violations against them in the Occupied Golan until achieving the victory that will keep the Golan present in the heart and the mind of every Syrian either inside or outside the homeland.

 

Firas al-Taleb

Translation: H. SH

The Zionism Sinister Schemes in The Occupied Golan

Israel has recently exploited the crisis in Syria and permitted a U.S. company to drill for oil and gas in the Israeli-occupied Syrian Golan.The Israeli Energy Ministry reportedly gave the first oil-drilling permit in the occupied Golan Heights to the New Jersey-based Genie Energy Company after halting the drilling works in the heights for 20 years because of then-peace negotiations with some Arab countries.

The US former Vice-President, Dick Cheney, is the Advisor of the U.S. company whose most shares are owned by Rupert Murdoch, according to the Israeli "Glob" paper. Drilling works are to cover half of the Golan's area, specifically the area between "Ketsarin" settlement in the north and "Tzemakh" settlement located south Tiberias lake, according to Arabian business website.

In fact,the Zionism's greediness in the Golan precedes the foundation of Israel in 1948. Some supporting examples are listed hereunder:  The World Zionist Organization's memo addressed to the Paris Peace Conference on February 3, 1919 specified that:

"Hermon is the true father of Palestine's water. It is inseparable from Palestine unless a crucial blow is inflicted, on Palestine's life. It has, therefore, to be kept dominated by those who are better capable and more desiring to restore it to its maximum profusion".

It is astonishing that Zionists spoke in 1919 of Palestine when they had constituted less than 8% of its population as if they had actually occupied it. Louis Brandes, the American Zionism representative, cabled Wizemann on February 16, 1920, that "It is necessary, in order to secure the Country economical development in the north, that Palestine should include Litany River resources at Hermon and the Golan and Hoaran Plains in the east."

Cabling Saint Rimmo Conference on 29.12.1919 Wizemann said:"The Sykes-Picot Line isn't meeting its minimum demands because it cuts off water resources and deprives the National HOMEland of some of the very best settlement fields in the Golan and Hoaran upon which the success of the whole project depends".

In 1920, Ben Gorion said in a Memo, on behalf of the Zionist Labor Union:"We have permanently requested that Israel should include the southern banks of Litany River and Hoaran Region, south of Damascus". He continued; "The Country is in need of such water".It is strange that Ben Gurion was then planning to dominate the whole of Palestine, when Jews had constituted less than 8% of its population, and to usurp not only Palestine, but also the Golan and Hoaran. This expansionist logic is renewing the alleged pleas to justify its plans. It wanted to seize lands of others in order to dominate the water resources. Would the World Opinion accept that Egypt occupies the Nile Resources in Ethiopia and Sudan in application of such logic? What if Zionists had chosen Romania for their State and decided thereafter to occupy the Danube Resources through Austria?

After signing the Syrian - Israeli Armistice Accord on July 20, 1949, Israel initiated a series of brutal actions, summarized as follows:

Israel started in 1950 drying Up Project of Alhouleh Lake that surrounds it from the north. This enabled it to dominate 45,000,000 Km2 of arable land in the Buffer Zone, breaching the so called Syrian-Israeli Armistice Accord.

The natural military barriers were eliminated by Alhouleh Lake drying up operation which jeopardized the Arab Citizens rights inside the Buffer Zone. When Syria complained to the Mixed Armistice Committee, Israel resorted to terrorism and pounded with guns, on April 5, 1951 Alhimmeh, the Syrian City, and its outskirts aiming thereby to subdue Syria. The Security Council issued its Resolution N° 2157/S on May 18, 1951 ordering Israel to repatriate the Arabs it had expelled from the Buffer Zone and to allow the UN Observers free inspection of the mentioned Zone. The Israelis completed by January 1953 the construction of Alhouleh Lake, as to fraudulently divert its water so that it would dry up completely. Thus imposing their domination on all the demilitarized zones, except the village of Alhimmeh, Mitjahou, an ex-military official admitted that the drying up work would deprive Syria of the secured borders. Syria then anxious to preserve its right continued to claim the restoration of their offs. Therefore it was entitled to request that its stance be taken into consideration. Furthermore, Moshe Dayan, twenty years later, confessed such fact; "Yes, we have deleted from our side the special status of the Buffer Zones and acted as if they were inside Israel".

The Israelis began on November 2, 1953 to build up a power station on Banat Yacoub Bridge to the north of Tiberius Lake. This compelled the Israeli constructing company to work inside the Buffer Zone and partially transfer Jordan River water. The Israeli Authorities rejected a request from General Van Beneke , then the UNTSO Chief-Of-Staff, to stop such work. Israel stopped said work for a short period, from October 28,1953 to early 1955.  The Israelis launched in December 1955 an immense raid on the Syrian positions east of Tiberius Lake in order to completely dominate it. Israel commenced in 1956 its greatest water project, known as "The National Project" whose objective was to transfer the Jordan River water to the coastal area and Tel Aviv. The Arabs retaliated by an adverse project of transferring the Jordan River tributaries, but Israel bombarded the practical project facilities. The commonly-known Israeli Commentator, Uri Afgeari, linking between the Jordan River transfer projects and the Golan occupation, said that "We must not forget that there had been no way to impede the transfer works except by using the air force. We might say that we could have been eventually obliged to wage a war ( against Syria ) if the Jordan River tributaries transfer project had been complemented, even if the 6-day War has not erupted due to the siege in Sinai".

Thus, the Golan water resources constituted a major cause of the Arab-Israeli conflict on the Syrian Front and a Zionist basic strategy factor or base towards the Golan, which was based not only on economic and security reasons, but also on political ones. By dominating the Golan water resources, Israel had imposed itself as a partner in the issues and events of the Area. The other factor was the Golan geographical site and its strategic importance, highlighted by Maarev Daily's remark: "The Syrian Hill was one of the causes that led to the war, because life, which was not bearable at the foot of the Syrian Fortress, had increased the severity of the Arab-Israeli conflict and eventually led to the 6-day War".  Life, according to Maarev, was unbearable on the foot of the Fortress, because Israel was constantly thinking of breaching the armistice and expanding. The Syrian Fortress was an agony to Israel being an impediment that hindered its plans and greediness. All national documents evidence that Israel was always the war initiator and aggressor despite what it alleged before 1967 as regards Syria's strategic site, not to mention that most of UN resolutions during that period condemned Israel and its actions which breached the Armistice Accord.

Consequently, Israel Launched in June 1967 another aggressive war against Egyptian, Syrian and Jordanian forces, occupying more Arab land then what was already under her domination (The Golan, Sinai, West Bank and Gaza) . About 89395 km2, four time then it already illegally occupy, 20700 km2. When Israel realized that the Arab Nations began considerating their ranks (The revolution of 14 July 1958 in Iraq, the victory of the Algerian revolution in 1962, the creation of the Palestinian Liberation organization in May 1964, etc.. ), It though to eliminate any hope of Arab redress. The creation of the Palestinian Liberation Organization and the outburst of the Palestinian fedayeen activities with 35 operations in 1965, rising to 41 within the first five months of 1965 were the most important and dangerous reasons. Thus, Israel escalated its provocative actions against Syria by shelling the means and equipment working in the Arab project of transferring the Jordan River tributaries. Attacking the Syrian farmers and increasing the impact of challenges against the Syrian Forces led to more vehement clashes that reached their peak by the air battle of April 7,1967. News were spreading of Israeli military arrangements; particularly its deploying a force of 11-13 brigades along the Syrian Borders. Motivated by such news, Egypt met its obligations under the Syrian-Egyptian Common Defense Accord signed on November 4, 1966, and delegated its Chief-of-Staff, Lt. General Mohammed Fozi, to Damascus to study the matter on the ground and coordinate the cooperation. When he returned to Cairo, Egypt declared utmost mobilization, and the Egyptian Forces were paraded on May 15, 1967 in a military march through Cairo streets heading for Sinai. On May 16, 1967 the Egyptian Command-in -Chief requested the UNDOF Commander-in-Chief in Sinai to withdraw his forces. After hasty consultations, the UN Secretary General, U. Thant, decided to meet Egypt's request and ordered such forces withdrawal on May 19, 1967. President Nasser announced on May 23, 1967 the blocking of The Strait of Tiran in the face of Israeli navigation, removing thereby the last trace of the 1956-Triple Aggression against Egypt. The blocking of the Traits was considered by Israel as a declaration of war. It expedited the arrangements to launch the aggression taking for granted the USA support to its plan. The UN Secretary General exerted efforts in Cairo and Tel Aviv to limit the deterioration. It was clear that the ghost of war was dominant. Syrian and Egyptian Forces began heading for the battle fronts. On the other side Israel was taking many measures that revealed the intentions of the Zionist leaders to wage aggression. The Cabinet was re-shuffled and General Moshe Dayan was brought in to as Defense Minister. It was only a few hours later that the Israeli forces initiated the war.

Dr. Mohammad Abdo Al-Ibrahim

Infant under home arrest in the Golan Heights!

He is a small child, yet he is confined to home arrest, not allowed to leave home with his parents, even for doctor visits.

This is not fiction, this is politics, the child is from the occupied Golan Heights, but he was born in Syria. His mother and father are from Majdal Shams, one of the biggest villages in the Syrian Golan Heights, occupied by Israel. He was born in Syria because at that time his parents were studying at the Damascus University in Damascus.

After completing their education in Syria they returned back to their village with their newborn, but were informed by the Israeli Authorities that their child cannot leave home for two years because he was born in Syria. The child, Fahid Lu’ay Shqeir, is now one year old and two months, he has to remain imprisoned in his parents’ home until he becomes 2. After that, other "legal procedures will still be needed to ensure that he will be allowed to stay in the country".

The Tishreen (October) Syrian newspaper reported that this is an unprecedented event as the child, who will want to play and run like other children, will practically be "arrested" if he leaves home because he is considered Syrian, and Syria is still regarded by Israel as an enemy state.

His family and parents contacted several international human rights groups and appealed them to intervene to resolve this issue as it is unimaginable that this child cannot even go for a walk with his parents.

This issue is yet another Israeli violation to human rights and the Fourth Geneva Conventions. Under the Israeli law, a child born to Jewish parents or a Jewish parent will be automatically considered Israeli and will be granted Israeli citizenship with no questions asked.

But this child is an Arab, born to a mother and father who are from the Golan Heights. By law; the Golan Heights are under Israeli occupation, and therefore a child born to a parent, or both parents, from the Golan or another place should be allowed to carry the nationality of his/her parents, and should be granted citizenship or at least residency rights in their country of origin.

April,  2009 Translation - Saed Bannoura - IMEMC

 

Dr. Mohammad Abdo Al-Ibrahim

The Golan Heights Revisited!

DAMASCUS - At a time when television news channels in the Middle East are spilling over with heart-wrenching stories of frightened children undergoing psychological counseling in their freshly bombed-out schools in Gaza, a reprise on the Golan Heights - the Syrian-Israeli conflict zone - may seem a little out of place, if not a downright invented crisis. This calendar-perfect rolling country, snuggled somewhere near the heart of parched holy lands, is the relatively quieter dispute in these parts.

According to Santwana Bhattacharya,Asia Times,the picture of pretty, unforced repose provided by weekend picnickers who dot the wild-flowered green meadows a few kilometers from the winding roads of Quneitra, which is under Syria's control, underscores the calm. Here the breeze is cool, the fruits sold by the village vendors fresh and juicy, and the children playing handball look the way they should: free of cares. Nearby, parents busy themselves with nothing more pressing than a relaxed game of backgammon.

One look at this Enid Blytonish idyll and it could be legitimately asked: why open old wounds? After all, the bullet marks are  on the destroyed hospital in Quneitra , more historical memento than live and active omen. Syria and Israel have off and on been in dialogue, through mediation. They were close to a settlement even in April 2008, and are not averse to talking again. Guns are not blazing.

But, as the canny old saying goes, looks can be deceptive. A chance meeting with Hazira Mohammad, and another reality comes creeping in. The elderly Druze woman dressed in her traditional attire - black, flowing overall with light silver embroidery - had strayed from the rest of her crowd, three of her grandchildren in tow. Standing at a crossroad near a half-rubbled church, she indicates a spot where she used to sell her berries in the village across the barbed wire (which you otherwise missed) nearly half a century ago.

"There ... that is the road that goes to my village, Jubhil Maizi. You walk down four kilometers, take a left turn and walk for another half kilometer ... take another left. Can you see it? Can't you see it? It's there ... on the other side ... I do not know if I can go there again," she says, haltingly. Well, I could not see. As the road wound down and wound up, there were scattered settlements visible on the far side. But I could see no village that the old Druze woman saw so clearly.

It is to remind her sons, daughters-in-law and her grandchildren of their village that she comes to Golan every summer. At least three times. Lest they forget who they are and where they come from - in a small corner of the Earth, in terms of civilization the center of the Earth for long, a sacred geography scarred by competing visions, the Druze from Golan too are a tiny flock of mohajir (emigrants) estranged from their homeland.

Hazira has been living in a tiny flat in Damascus with her family of 10 members ever since the Six-Day War in 1967. Picnics are just a pretext to draw the younger generation close to the roots, to keep them anchored. You slowly realize that behind the jollity of every bouncing ball, and every food hamper spread around the shady trees, there is a history of loss. That these are no ordinary weekend revelers, but strange pilgrims.

With a new audience before her, Hazira launches into her story - probably recounted every year to the family. She points to each and every pile of rubble lying amid the greens to resurrect a village market. "This was the biggest souk [market], our souk, in the entire Golan. It used to be very busy, full of people, music, tea-stalls ... I feel sad." Her impatient family members try to drag her away from the story-telling session. But she refuses to budge, "How can I forget? How can I live anywhere else? That was my village, they have to remember ... This is where ribbons where sold, the silversmith who made my first earring."

You can't quite blame the younger lot. It is really hard to imagine this place was a bustling market. As her voice trails off, the quiet of the place almost gets at you. Suddenly, the stillness of the surroundings - Hazira's marketplace of memories - engulfs everyone. For a second, you are almost tempted to mistake it for another one of those archaeological sites that abound Syria. Opulent, but dead.

The screeching sound of car tires wakes everyone from the reverie of the lost world. A family packed into an old convertible is rushing somewhere. The man behind the wheel reveals he has no time for a chat, he has to reach back before it's too late. "Apples" was one of the words we caught. He had come to deliver apples. Israel, I learnt later, has been allowing limited sale of apples, grown by the Syrians in the Occupied Territories, to mainland Syria.

These are a few concessions - granted perhaps more on occasional whim than as part of a coherent system of peace-making - that have been extracted by Syrians in the Occupied Territories. Apart from the free university tuition that Syrian students from the villages across the concertina are allowed to access in Damascus and elsewhere.

We say "Syrian" with deliberation: the original inhabitants of occupied Golan have steadfastly refused to surrender Syrian citizenship in favor of an Israeli identity. And the authorities on the Syrian side say even the little movements that are allowed them are fraught with short-term and long-term consequences for the people.

Mohammad Ali, a senior official in the Syria-run Quneitra Governorate, claims the years of resistance put up by the Syrians in the Occupied Territories have only earned them a tough and unstable life. That they are denied electricity and water by Israel - "we are supplying them from this side".

It seems too much prosperity in the apple trade is also not taken kindly. "They often go back to see their entire orchards have been uprooted on some pretext or the other," he adds. Just as the students who choose to study in the Syrian universities have "to go back to plough their fields ... they get no jobs".

There is an alternative view emanating from the pro-Israeli lobby in the West, ascribing the reluctance of the Golan Syrians to come under the Israeli umbrella only to a fear of retribution in the future event of the lands reverting to Syria. From this side of the concertina, one can only fall back on general truths: a certain "stateless" modern youth have indeed come into being in our times everywhere who seek a better, stable life.

They are alive to their history and culture. What we can do is trace them as communities, through the broken-up numbers. While some 20,000 Syrians live in the Occupied Territories, 76,000 live in the part of Golan (roughly 600 square kilometers) that was restored to Syria after the Yom Kippur War of 1973. According to the report of a conference held in London in June 2007, there are also currently 346,000 displaced persons, like Hazira's family, living scattered across Damascus and other Syrian cities.

As was widely reported in the international media, before making the 1974 withdrawal, Israel left a trail of destruction in which schools; hospitals, villages and towns were razed. While the United Nations (UN) condemned the action and still does not recognize the Israeli occupation of Golan, the Syrian government continues to preserve Quneitra in its bombed-out state as a reminder of the Israeli action.

Says Ali, "Our president has made it clear, we will not rebuild Quneitra [which was the capital of Golan] till we get back our land." The rationale goes a bit beyond those war-era skeleton buildings preserved, for instance, in Berlin: this is not architecture as moral fable, but as evidence in court.

At the "Shouting Valley" in Majdal Shams, a small town right at the edge of the UN-monitored border, our cell phones received text messages that said "Welcome to Israel". It is here that Syrians gather to peer at the Occupied Territories through binoculars. Sometimes they contact their relatives on the other side through loudhailers.

Sixteen-year-old Jahina Safi Ali, who's come to Golan for the first time to "see it with her own eyes", says "the experience" is much beyond what she "ever thought it would be". However, the teenager adds quietly that though young people like her want their occupied land back, "I don't want people to be killed, rather we should talk. And try very hard [to break the deadlock]."

The settlements on the Israel-held side look quite prosperous. Big houses, none less than three storey, big cars, air-conditioners, pretty garden patches. And there's heavy-duty construction work going on, as the half-finished new houses and rumbling sounds from the beyond tell us. That fact says something. The dispute over Golan is, finally, not just for military, strategic reasons, but also because of the ecosystem of the Golan plateau, which is rich in water sources. The scenic beauty is just a plus. It continues to provide Israel 15% of its total water supply.

Meanwhile, on no-man's land between the two Golans, UNDOF (the UN Disengagement Observation Force) peacekeepers man towers to ensure the ceasefire is not broken. And so that there's no fresh encroachment. They mostly have the view of the snow-clad Mount Hermon for company.

 

Mohammad Abdo Al-Ibrahim

Allowing U.S. oil drilling in Golan breaches UN resolutions

Israel has exploited the crisis in Syria and permitted a U.S. company to drill for oil and gas in the Israeli-occupied Syrian Golan.

The Israeli Energy Ministry reportedly gave the first oil-drilling permit in the occupied Golan Heights to the New Jersey-based Genie Energy Company after halting the drilling works in the heights for 20 years because of then-peace negotiations with some Arab countries.

The US former Vice-President, Dick Cheney, is the Advisor of the U.S. company whose most shares are owned by Rupert Murdoch, according to the Israeli "Glob" paper.

Drilling works are to cover half of the Golan's area, specifically the area between "Ketsarin" settlement in the north and "Tzemakh" settlement located south Tiberias lake, according to Arabian business website.

This act breaches international law and conventions as the relevant UN resolutions underscore that the decision, taken by Israel to impose its laws, legislations, administrative regulations on the occupied Golan is null and void, and of no legal effect on the international level.

According to Press TV, analysts in energy sector see that the act pushed by the Israeli Energy Minister, Uzi Landau, aims to convey a message that the Golan Heights would not be easily returned to Syria.

"The timing of the decision is directly related to the fact that the Syrian government is not free to deal with the problem and the Syrian Army cannot pose a threat to Israel right now," Yaron Ezrahi, the Israeli political analyst said.

The Syrian Arab Army is fighting the foreign-backed terrorism to restore stability and security across the country.

Last year, SANA quoted the Israeli daily, Yedioth Ahronoth, as reporting   that the Israeli cabinet secretly approved Landau's decision to resume oil drilling in the occupied Syrian Golan.

The daily said that the Israeli Energy Minister's ideas have contributed to adopting this decision which aims to increase oil production.

"Several Arab regimes are providing Israel with large quantity of oil and gas," SANA said.

The Golan, which was seized in 1967, is a geographical area that represents the core of Natural Syria- the Sham countries which included Syria, Jordan, Palestine, and Lebanon.

In 1981, Israel formally annexed the Golan, but this annexation has not been internationally recognized.

B. Qaddour