To facilitate the current round of Syrian peace talks, US President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin have agreed to support the return of the Golan Heights to Syria. The two presidents gave their top diplomats, Secretary of State John Kerry and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, the green light to include such a clause in a proposal being drafted at the Geneva conference on ending the Syrian civil war. (debka.com April 2016)
In response, Israel held its first-ever cabinet meeting on the Golan Heights on April 17. There, Netanyahu reiterated that the Golan Heights will remain part of Israel, “FOREVER.” The next day, US State Department spokesman John Kirby reiterated that the Obama administration does not consider the Golan Heights to be part of Israel.
Why do the Obama administration, the United Nations, and the West dispute Israel’s place on the Golan Heights? Could it possibly be because an arbitrary and now obsolete agreement gave France control of the Golan Heights – 100 years ago?
Capsule history: The 1916 Sykes-Picot Agreement, in which France and Britain schemed to share the Middle East after the defeat of Turkey in WWI, first included the Golan Heights in Palestine, to be under the British Mandate for Palestine (which was dedicated to establishing a Jewish Home therein). But before the British Mandate and the French Mandate for Syria & Lebanon were adopted by the League of Nations in 1922, France exchanged part of the northern Jordan Valley with Britain, receiving the Golan Heights in return.
Eventually Syria became independent in 1945, by design a state composed of a motley mix of Sunni and Shia Muslims, with smaller tribes of Kurds, Druze, Assyrian Christians, and others. Just nineteen years later, following constant attacks by Syrian troops into Israel from the (relatively towering) Golan Heights, Israel captured the area in the Six Day War of 1967. Israeli government law was subsequently extended to the Golan by then Prime Minister Begin in 1981 and has remained so since then.
Most people today would agree that the Sykes-Picot Agreement was a colonialist plan to divide the Middle East for the benefit of Britain and France. But in today’s “civilized” world, you keep what you can defend. (Numerous contemporary examples could be mentioned.) No country better exemplifies the seizure and annexation of land than the United States, which snatched land from Mexico and wouldn’t dream of relinquishing it.
Israel has a much better case than mere military prowess. All of the land it controls today has deep Jewish roots going back thousands of years. Israel’s detractors and sometime-friends proclaim that Israelis are occupiers of the land, except for the approximately 25% of Mandatory Palestine which the UN allowed to it before its 1948 War of Independence. (The Muslims deny even a tiny sliver to Israel.) The fact is that all of Israel’s current inhabitants other than the Jews arrived long after the Jewish people were sovereign there, including in the Golan Heights, Judea, Samaria, the Galilee, and the Negev.
Besides this, there is the utter idiocy that Syria, which in fact no longer exists, could govern the Golan Heights in the midst of a murderous (300,000+ deaths and counting) civil war. Syrian president, Bashar Assad, is hardly in charge of the Syrian side of the Golan. If Israel were to voluntarily leave the Golan, by necessity ethnically cleansing tens of thousands of Israelis from their homes, any combination of the following might take control – Iran, Islamic State, Hezbollah, al-Qaida, al-Nusra Front – all of whom are active Islamists on the Syrian side of the Golan.
If Israel refuses to evacuate its citizens and military from the Golan Heights, do Europe and the US plan to parachute their troops into the Golan to bend Israel to its collective will? Not likely; instead, they would turn their half-baked idea over to the United Nations, the corrupt organization over which the non-democratic countries run roughshod, with the cowardly acquiescence of its democratic members.
Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu has proclaimed what Israelis believe, that the Golan Heights is an inseparable part of the Jewish State of Israel because of its history and its importance to Israel’s security. If the corrupt United Nations wants to lead the charge against Israel, it’s just another example of its ineptitude in peace making. Peace can only come to this region when the Muslims first learn to live with each other and then accept the only Jewish State.
For more on this subject, see my recent article: “Whither the Golan Heights?”
A Happy Passover for all my readers who celebrate the holiday!