Syrian Captive Sham Shams Released after 13 Years in Zionist Occupation Jails

QUNEITRA, (ST)-The Israeli occupation authorities yesterday released the Syrian captive Sham Kamal Shams after spending 13 years in the Israeli jails for his national stances and resistance against occupation.

The Liberated captive, who is from the occupied Syrian Golan village of Beq’ata, received a big popular welcome upon his arrival at his home village.

The 34th Anniversary of The National Open Strike

On  the 34th anniversary of the national Open Strike by the Syrian Arab Citizens under the yoke of the Israeli occupation in the Israeli-occupied Syrian Golan on February 14th, 1982, our hero Syrians reiterated that the option of the Resistance against the occupation is the way for the liberation of the occupied Golan.

The steadfast Syrians in the Golan, in a statement read by the Syrian freedom-fighter and dean of Syrian Prisoner, Sidqi al-Maqt, our Syrian brothers reiterated, three years back, definite and absolute rejection to the Israeli occupation and to its null, void, and illegitimate practices in the Golan Heights.

Our Syrian compatriots underlined the loyalty of the Golan to the Syrian People, Army, and Leadership in rejection to the present conspiracy and ongoing aggression against Syria, asserting the need to pursue national dialogue and fight against armed terrorist groups in Syria.

''encountering the Israeli enemy, we extend our hands to shake the hands of every honest Syrian and embrace him/her and appeal to them to stand against the criminal gangs and their sectarian schemes and rally behind the leadership of President Bashar Al-Assad,'' read the statement.

Our compatriots underscored that Syria is the dearest and above all  and that the 14th of February would ever remain the symbol for rejection Israeli ID's and that the Golan is but Syrian and ever to remain Syrian Arab land and people.

According to International Committee of the Red Cross, Israel's occupation of the Golan severely restricts the ability of its Arab residents to go about their daily lives. In addition, many have relatives across the demarcation line in Syria that they have not seen for years.

Haniya Saleem Bader Eldeen Shams is 59 years old. She has lived in the occupied Golan since 1968 when she came to be married. Her son, Youseef Hussein Shams, explains that his mother's family live on the other side of the demarcation line.

"She used to be as healthy as a horse," he says, "but since 2003 she has suffered a heart attack and has been hospitalized three times. She is always in tears, sad and depressed."

 During a one week trip to Jordan in 2003 was the last time Haniya saw her family. On the last day of the visit, her older brother died of a heart attack but because his body was taken home  to Syria, Haniya was unable to attend the funeral. Her son says this experience broke her health.  Earlier, she had been able to spend one month with her family in Syria in 1990 as part of the ICRC's family visit programme but this was suspended by the Israeli authorities in 1992. Yousef spends around 50 dollars a week on a twenty-minute phone call that allows his mother to talk to her family. "It's expensive," he says "but after she fell sick, I do what I can to help her."  "When she came here, she left her family behind. She did not see them or their children as they grew up. She missed that sense of family. If the family visits were restored, it would compensate for some of those moments and heal some of the injuries."

  "It was a difficult decision to make when I decided to come here," says Najwa Fawaz Abu Shaqra – Amasha. "My family and my father were very sad. They tried to convince me not to come. I had to ignore them to find the strength to stick to my decision and not be overwhelmed by sadness."

 The 24 year old woman left her home in Damascus in 2004 to live with her new husband in the occupied Golan. They had met at University in Damascus where they were both studying. "At first the question of his return to the occupied Golan, was not an issue," she explains, "We saw each other for three years during our studies and we fell in love. My choice then was to leave him or leave my family. It took a year to get the authorization to come here," she adds." When the approval came, I had to seize the opportunity. If I had hesitated it would have been too late."  In addition to the problems of adjusting to a new community, she is not entitled to an Israeli identification card for the first three years of her residence. This means she cannot travel outside Israel and the occupied Golan, cannot study and cannot work. 

Her new husband found work as an English teacher in Beer Sheba, in central Israel and is only home on weekends. She has no family of her own in the occupied Golan, and without family visits across the demarcation line, she does not know when she will see them again. She says the most difficult moment was when she gave birth two years ago. "I wanted my mother," she says, "I was very sad, it was very difficult not to have her there."

"My father was using a megaphone to talk to us from the shouting hill and he became very emotional. He collapsed from a heart attack and died on the spot," explains Aida Kasim Amasha. "I applied immediately for a permit to go to his funeral, but it was refused. I wanted to touch my father one last time."

 The shouting hill is on the Syrian side of the ceasefire line in the Golan and overlooks the village of Majdal Shams on the Israeli occupied side. The families separated since the 1967 ceasefire use megaphones to communicate across the barbed wire that divides them. The 47 year old woman came from Damascus in 1980 to marry her husband in the occupied Golan. Although she studied mathematics, physics and chemistry in Syria before leaving she does not have a permit to work in Israel.  Last year her 83 year old mother died. "She had been sick for a long time and had undergone surgery. But I could not go to see her before she passed away." She says she is now so depressed that she stays indoors most of the time.  She has four brothers and two sisters in Syria but it is not possible to visit them. "Family weddings over there are very sad events for us," she adds," we cannot participate."  The difficulties of her life in the occupied Golan are not new to her. She lost her five year old daughter fifteen years ago. "All my family could do is offer condolences from the shouting hill."

 ''Family is a physical experience," says 93 year old Sheikh Hasan Yousef Basheer. "We need to touch one another, to feel the children climbing onto you." Although his daughters live with him in the village of Majdal Shams, the rest of his family are all on the Syrian side of the 1967 ceasefire line. "Extended family is so important," he says.

 He was able to take part in a family visit organized in 1979 and again in 1990 but the programme was suspended by the Israeli authorities in 1992. "It was like a big wedding," he says, "It was the first time I had seen all my family members since the 1967 war. Everyone was singing, everyone wanted to kiss me and I kissed them all. I was able to stay one month, it was a good time."  Since that last visit his two brothers have passed away, but he still has one brother, a sister, as well as nephews and nieces. He says he hopes to see them again, "as long as God is willing." As a Druze elder, he was able to cross into Syria last September as part of an annual religious pilgrimage facilitated by the ICRC. But he says the pilgrimage is too short, leaving them little more than one evening to visit family.  "When we haven't seen each other in so long, it is difficult to talk. At first there is nothing to say. We need the time to really sit together, to talk and re-establish contact, to reminisce about the old days." "The pilgrimage is too short to do that," he adds, "it just reopens the wound. When I come back I am depressed and sad." He has been married to his second wife since 1994, "but she has never met any of my family on the other side."  "It is not right," he concludes, "people are dying without the chance to see their relatives. We are all human beings; shouldn't we have the right to visit?"

 "In a dream I saw my mother's funeral," says 49 year old Mohasna Sulieman Taweel Merij. "The next morning I learned she had passed way during the night. Her mother had been sick for some time, and she tried to find a way to visit her, but it was impossible. "On the phone my mother kept crying and begging for me to come, but I could not."

 Mohasna Sulieman Taweel Merij points to her family's village in Syria just the other side of the mountain. "She had sent a message the day before her death telling me to call, but our phone was not working. She stayed alive until one in the morning wondering why I didn’t call," says Mohasna. On hearing of her mother's death she tried to sneak across the demarcation line and walk the four kilometres to her family village. Her sons physically restrained her because of the danger of minefields. Mohasna moved from the village of Hadar in Syria proper to the occupied Golan to marry in 1973 at the age of 16. She has been back once in 1990 as part of the family visit programme. Her husband died of a heart attack just after that visit. She can still telephone her family in Syria, but because she is a widow, she says she can only afford a short call every two months. "We spend all the time crying on the phone and I listen to them begging me to come visit." Her worry now is whether she will be able to see one of her brothers who has been sick for the last three years. "We are roughly the same age and we were very close growing up," she explains, "I want to see him again, but I am afraid he will die first. I haven't been with him in 16 years. To see him again would be the most precious moment in my life." Mohasna has three sons and three daughters. One of her daughters lives in Austria and has come home to visit. Mohasna travelled to Austria for three weeks when her daughter gave birth. "It's easier to go to Austria than to my family's village behind that mountain over there," she points in the direction of Syria. "It would take me thirty minutes to walk there."


Dr. Mohammad Abdo Al-Ibrahim

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The Golan National Document

Sidqi al-Maqt

Lieberman! Golan is ONLY OURS!

Syrian detainee Majed Farhan al-Shaer free

Quneitra, SANA- Israeli occupation authorities released the Syrian detainee Majed Farhan al-Shaer after five and a half year detention in occupation jails on charges of resisting occupation and having contacts with his home country Syria.

A crowd from Majdal Shams, al-Shaer’s occupied village, included locals and free detainees from the occupied Golan gathered to receive him before moving through all the villages in Golan and returning to Sultan al-Atrash Square in Majdal Shams where a ceremony is to be held on his honor, SANA reported.

Al-Shaer was detained in Israeli jails for five and a half years on charges of contacting with his home country Syria.

President Hafez Assad's Struggle for Golan (2)

The Occupied Syrian Golan Heights was indeed one of the central causes of the late President Hafez Al-Assad. The Syria Times takes honor in publishing some of the golden sayings by the late President about the Golan:

Extract from the interview granted to The "Washington Post" and "Newsweek" the American Daily and Magazine on July 28, 1991


I am sure you understand that there is some ambiguity about your message to President Bush; there is a question asked: Has the USA given Syria any side guarantees or understanding about the Occupied Golan.

President’s answer:

"The USA has not given us any guarantees, but confirmed its commitment to the UN resolutions adopted in 1967, 1973 and the 1980’s. The USA has taken certain positioning, not only at the advent of the current Administration:

The former Administration had confirmed also the continuous commitment to those resolutions. We want no more from anyone. We demand the USA, the Soviet Union and the other permanent members of the Security Council, abide by what they have decided on or participated in deciding according to the UN resolutions. Particularly as all such states say that there is no way to realize peace other than through the UN resolutions."


Do you mean the return of all Arab lands is required in to such resolutions?

Late President’s answer:

"This is what the UN resolutions provide. As you know, both the USA and the Soviet Union have not recognized any measure previously taken by Israel as regards such lands. I would also like to recall that these position and resolutions were taken by previous administrations. The USA does not recognize the annexation of the Golan, and has previously rejected it, together with all other states."

The Late President Struggle for Golan Heights (1)

 The Occupied Syrian Golan Heights was indeed one of the central causes of the late President Hafez Al-Assad. The Syria Times takes honor in publishing some of the golden sayings by the late President about the Golan:

"Our will for peace is boosted by determination on the liberation, restoration of rights and on safeguarding national dignity. It was our keenness on the peace process as well as on securing security and stability in the region which, time and again, motivated us to keep on announcing our preparedness to resume peace negotiations from where they broke off and on the basis of acknowledging what the previous two Israeli Premiers committed themselves to and on the same bases of the UN Security Council Resolutions and the principle of land for peace," His Excellency has ever called for the establishment of a just balanced New World order in which" Neither the strong control others with their strength nor the weak are weakened by their weakness."

"We Want the Mediterranean to be a sea of peace and friendship where seagulls fly, ships of amity sail not warplanes of killing and destruction,’’

Lattakia, 1987,

 An Extract from the late President’s Speech at the inauguration of the third Legislative Term of the People’s Assembly on November 16, 1981

"Israel has wrought havoc in the occupied territories, oppressing our people and turning their lives into hell. But our people are putting up heroic resistance to this aggression. They are standing unarmed in the face of the occupying oppressors, confirming everyday all over the West Bank, Gaza and the Golan that they are holding firm to their own rights and those of their peoples and nations, and that they will keep on resisting the occupation until it is eliminated. We assure our people in the occupied territory, as we have previously done, that we will strive together until they rejoin us and we reunite with them.""

An Extract from The President’s interview granted to the British Daily "The Observer" on March 2, 1982


In the Golan Cause, Mr. President, you have won a victory in the UN, but this, in my opinion, will not help you regain the region, what is your next step, on the Syrian, Arab and international levels?

Late President’s Answer:

"Our battle with Israel, as it has been commonly known to every one now, is a long one. The Golan occupation, annexation or liberation is but a step in the long battle. We don’t doubt for a moment that we will regain our rights, regardless of how long it takes, because aggression everywhere in the world is destined to retreat and fail. We are rightful in our position, and we have been attacked. We have prove and moral potentials which , if well used and managed by us, will enable us in the long run to fully regain our rights."


Do you feel, Mr. President, that the USA has turned you down? When you met with President Carter in Geneva in 1977, it was plain that things were moving on smoothly between you. Ever since that time, the relations deteriorated; there were the Strategic Cooperation Accord with Israel and the veto against the decision on the Golan. You accuse the USA of interfering with your internal affairs. Is it possible to say that your relations with the USA are at their lowest and that you consider it as a hostile enemy State?

Late President’s answer:

"I have previously said more than once that I had good and positive impressions at the end of the meeting with President Carter, but what happened after the meeting has clearly confirmed that the USA does not have an American policy in the Region, but is implementing an Israel police. We can give many examples which confirm this."

Extract from the President’s Message to the 2nd Conference on Combating Against Racism and Racial Discrimination Geneva, July 30, 1983

"The Israeli racist Regime racism is manifesting its ugliest forms by exercising its racial practices in the West bank, Gaza Strip and the Golan. It continues confiscating Arab lands to build its settlements, applies racial discrimination against the Arabs who are the owners of the lands, plunder their life resources and violate all their rights as enshrined in International law."

Extract from the President’s Message to the UN Committee on Palestinian People’s rights November 29, 1983

"Ever since its foundation, Israel has committed a long series of savage assaults against the Arab Countries. It has openly and frequently expressed its intentions and objectives to control the region. The most recent of instances on such Israeli policy are its decisions on annexing Arab Jerusalem and the Arab Golan territory annexation and the invasion of Lebanon with all the brutal actions of assassination and destruction that it carried along, besides the attempts to deprive Lebanon of its independence, sovereignty, and its territorial integrity by means of the agreement which the USA and Israel have endeavored to impose on it. Israel is held completely responsible for the Palestinian Arab People’s ordeal and displacing millions of Arabs from their homeland in Palestine, the Golan and Lebanon. It furthermore exercises the most disgusting forms of the policy of racial discrimination against Arab citizens all over the territories it is occupying. By the whole of its aggressive and expansionist practices, Israel has created an explosive situation in our Region which has perilous reflections against the world peace and security."

 The Occupied Syrian Golan Heights was indeed one of the central causes of the late President Hafez Al-Assad. The Syria Times takes honor in publishing some of the golden sayings by the late President about the Golan:

Extract from the President’s Message to the UN Women Conference Nairobi, July 15, 1985

"Thousands of women in the occupied Syrian Golan and Palestinian territories are daily suffering from the arbitrariness of Occupation, the arrest of their husbands, brothers and children who are being tortured in the Israeli occupation jails. In addition to suffering the Enemy’s racial practices applied against the people of the occupied territories."

Extract from the President’s Speech addressed to the Syrian Physicians residing in USA August 15, 1985

"The Israeli Prime Minister, Golda Meir, standing at the Aqaba Gulf in 1967 and looking towards the Arabian Peninsula, said, " I smell my ancestors in their homeland which we aspire, and which we must regain". Moshe Dayan visited the Israeli soldiers after occupying the Golan in 1967 and told them that the Israelis who came before us had founded Israel in 1948, we have founded Israel in 1967 and you have to establish Greater Israel which is from the Nile to the Euphrates. It is unreasonable to displace people from their homeland in order to place another, or to plan for groups of people to be placed there. We are nowadays confronting a false myth which tries by force to came true. The talk about occupying the West bank and other Arab territories, that was going on before 1967, was opposed by the Arabs, the rightful owners of lands, inside and outside Syria. Yet Israel, nevertheless, occupied the whole of Palestine, the Golan and Sinai in 1967. In one of Israel’s expansionist stages that she wants to continue the detriment of the Arabs."

Extract from the President’s Message to the 12th General Conference Of The World Federation of Democratic Youth November 23, 1986

"This racist expansionist movement, which has in the past closely cooperated with the Apartheid Regime, its ally in South Africa, is still exercising oppression and terrorism against the Arab people in the Golan, the West bank, Gaza Strip an d the south of Lebanon, and receives the support of imperialism and colonialist forces, one campaign after another launched against Syria under the pretext that Syria helps terrorism, the name they use to describe the freedom-fighters who resist aggression and occupation while Israel is full engaged in the worst kind of state terrorism."

Extract from the President’s speech at the 25th Anniversary of the March 8th Revolution delivered on March 8, 1988

"Our people in the Golan are steadfast in their resistance to the Occupation. Our brothers in occupied Palestine are steadfast in their resistance, and our Arab Lebanese Brothers are steadfast too against the Occupation in South Lebanon. Your brothers and children in the Golan are still confronting the Enemy ever since the occupation, particularly after his attempt to impose the Zionist Nationality upon them. They have vigorously stood against its attempt. They remain steadfast in front of the Israeli pressure. The Enemy has failed and will always fail. Israel wants the Syrians of the Golan to be detached from their people and history and live without roots and heritage. The Zionist racism with its hatred to people in general and to the Arab nation in particular is pushing the Israelis to commit every crime in order to execute their abominable designs. But people can not detach themselves off their roots and histories. Your children and brethren start off from this reality. So, Our Syrian children and brothers in the Golan! can make sure that the Enemy understands that we are not asleep. Today we are here and the forthcoming day is ours with confidence and certainty."

Extract from the late President’s speech at the dinner banquet given by the President and Mrs. Hafez Al-Assad in honor of Mr. and Mrs. Rajiv Gandhi on June 4, 1988

"The resistance to the Occupation in the Syrian Golan territory, the Intifada of the Palestinian Arab People in its occupied territories and the continuous resistance in South of Lebanon are the natural outcome of the continuity of occupation. This resistance is a national duty practiced by any person whose land is occupied, and is practiced by the Arab people in the Golan, South Lebanon, West Bank and Gaza Strip. Aggressors must understand that brutal methods of subjugation and repression shall not suppress the spirit of resistance in the People and shall not impose surrender on them."

Extract from the President’s speech to the Armed Forces at the 43rd anniversary of the Syrian Arab Army on August 1st, 1988

"The heroic battles you fought during the October War and then the War of the Golan and Mount Hermon have meant a great change. Through your magnificent performance, sacrifices and the blood of the martyrs, you have shattered the myth of the invincible army and smashed the Enemy’s self-conceit and arrogance. Also, you have proved both to the nation and the world that the Syrian Arab Forces are worthy of both their name and the mission they have assumed. In the name of our People and yours, I greet our kinsfolk in the Golan and assure them that the occupation is destined to disappear."

Extract from the joint press conference with Lebanese President Elias El-Hrawi on May 22, 1991

Question :

What about Sharon’s declaration claiming that the Israeli government wants to double amount of the settlements in the occupied Golan, and what are the effects of this on the peaceful march in the middle east and the international efforts exerted for this purpose?

President’s answer:

"Nothing because the peace process will either march as a whole or freeze as a whole. Israel is not just building settlements now only, but has been building settlements ever since the early comers of the invaders, It built them many years ago but this will not have any effect. The land is ours and, no one can ever swallow it however strong one’s stomach is, because Arab thorn can never be digested, not even Sharon's big stomach can."

Dr. Mohammad Abdo Al-Ibrahim

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The Late President Hafez Al-Assad