Israel And The Golan Heights

Israel’s top political leaders and military commanders were stunned and shocked last weekend when they found out that US President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin have agreed to support the return of the Golan to Syria. Debka

Photo by Kyle Taylor, Dream It. Do It.
Nimrod Fortress – Golan

The Golan Heights is a plateau 1000 feet above sea level, making it a strategically important military asset.

Those of us who have stood on the Golan’s 1,700 foot steep escarpment, are struck by its immense strategic value overlooking Israel’s fertile Hula Valley and the beautiful harp shaped lake below, called in Hebrew, Kinneret (the Sea of Galilee). INN

Map source: .jr.co.il/pictures/israel/maps/
Map source: .jr.co.il/pictures/israel/maps/

There is also concern of Syrian control of the Golan watershed that supplies approximately 30 percent of Israel’s water. Rainwater from the Golan’s catchment feeds into the Jordan River and the Sea of Galilee.

Netanyahu on Sunday held an honorary meeting of his cabinet in the Golan Heights.

During a speech at the site on Sunday, he said that Israel would never relinquish its right to the territory in the face of an encroaching threat from Islamic State terrorists and other forces as Syria continues to struggle with a sectarian war that has attracted jihadis. FreeBeacon

Senator Cruz stated:

“Today, the government of Israel reiterated the reality that the Golan Heights are part of Israel’s sovereign territory,” Cruz said. “Given the presence of hostile terrorist organizations ranging from ISIS to Hezbollah on Israel’s northern border, it is foolhardy and dangerous for elements in the international community to try to pressure Israel to abandon the Golan to the chaos engulfing Syria.”

The path to peace cannot involve Israel’s abdication of its own security,” Cruz said. “I applaud Prime Minister Netanyahu’s courage in standing up for the safety of his people. America stands with you.”  FreeBeacon

History

Israeli settlement in the Golan area is ancient. For four centuries, between 953 and 586 B.C. the Kings of Israel were engaged in a power struggle in Golan with the Aramaeans who ruled Damascus. More than 60 synagogues in the area date back to Roman and Byzantine times. Jewish settlement was halted in 636 when the area was conquered by Arab armies.

The area was subsequently controlled by different conquerors: Amorites, Assyrians [Assyria’s conquest of ancient Israel was launched from the Golan.],  Babylonian, and Persian Empires, Greeks, Arabs, and Mongols. Finally the Ottoman Empire seized it in the 16th century and ruled it as part of the vilayet of Damascus until 1918. France, under the League of Nations mandate, controlled the area until it became part of the independent Syrian Arab Republic in April 1946. AmericanThinker

Syria attacked Israel in 1967 and lost the Golan Heights.  Syria occupied the Golan for 22 years (1945-1967), during that time there was ” no agriculture of any significance took place and no restoration of its terrain was ever undertaken. Instead, the Golan was a Syrian army artillery encampment whose sole purpose was to deliberately rain down upon Israeli farmers, fishermen and villagers an endless barrage of shells.” INN

“In the 49 years that the Golan Heights have been under Israeli rule, they have been for agriculture, tourism, economic initiatives and building,” Netanyahu said. “They are for peace. In the stormy region around us, Israel is the stabilizing factor; Israel is the solution, not the problem.” FreeBeacon

Syria is a fragile state that is disintegrating into fragmented parts.  In the Golan is approximately 21,000 Israeli citizens and 20,000 Druze residents.  Israel cannot withdraw from the Golan Heights in light of military threats by Syria, Hezbollah, other terrorist groups in Syria, and Syria’s ally Iran.

Online:  INN- The Golan Heights: History and Biblical Significance

Photo by Kyle Taylor, Dream It. Do It.

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