May 6, 2016
Why Israel Should Keep the Golan Heights – Steve Postal
On April 17, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened a cabinet meeting on the Golan Heights, stating that the “time has come for the international community to finally recognize that the Golan Heights will remain under Israel’s sovereignty permanently.” He spoke these words from Ma’aleh Gamla, next to the ruins of historic Gamla, a Jewish city to which the Romans laid siege in 67 CE during the Great Revolt. His statement followed reports that the U.S. and Russia were working on a draft resolution to the Syrian civil war that would label the entire Golan Heights as Syrian territory.
Israel has a stronger claim to the Golan than Syria does, the Golan is of essential strategic value to Israel, and given the increased threats, that value has only appreciated. Syria gained independence in 1945. Before that, the Golan was part of the French Empire (1923-1945), and before that for approximately 400 years, part of the (Turkish) Ottoman Empire. So, Syria had control of the Israeli-administered part of the Golan for 22 years (1945-1967), while Israel has had it for 49 years.
Moreover, giving up the Golan would most likely result in it being controlled by forces hostile to Israel and the West. The Islamic State and other jihadist groups, in addition to forces aligned with the Syrian government (including Hizbullah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards), are all vying for territory adjacent to the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights. On April 22, the Islamic State captured the Salam al Jawlan Dam, 17 miles from Gamla. This victory puts the Islamic State closer to Israel than Tijuana, Mexico, is to San Diego, California. (American Thinker)
- Israel Won’t Abandon the Golan to Terrorists – Moshe Arens
The artificial borders of Iraq and Syria delineated in 1916 by Britain and France are artificial constructs. In the Golan Heights, the border between British-mandated Palestine and French-mandated Syria was determined by British-French negotiations in 1923 that altered the lines defined by the original Sykes-Picot Agreement, moving the Golan Heights over to the Syrian side of the border.
Israel is not going to abandon the Golan Heights. The enclave will not be turned over to the terrorists of the Islamic State, al-Qaeda or the Nusra Front, or whoever survives the Syrian bloodbath. The notion that arbitrary borders delineated by outside powers will in time become permanent fixtures is surrealistic. In time that will be recognized by all.The writer served as Israel’s Minister of Defense three times and once as Minister of Foreign Affairs. (Ha’aretz)