Arnold Flick
Arnold Flick

the Golan, Again

From here in the USA, it’s clear that the status of the Golan is being debated at the highest level of policy-making in the Biden administration: should Trump’s designation of the Golan as belonging to Israel be reversed? That this question is even being raised speaks to the current level of distaste for Israel in “progressive” Democratic circles; Jewish Democratic Congressional members’ likely vote on this can be guessed from their 100% absence from the opening of the USA Jerusalem Embassy.

Israel’s claim to the Golan is that it owns it. Israel makes a serious public relation’s error when it places security as its first claim. Israeli security is not a strong sell here now; it can be offset by the US getting from Syria an agreement that if Israel yields the Golan, Syria will sign a non-aggression statement.

Syria’s prior ownership was via the League of Nations in 1923 and lasted 44 years until Israel took it in the defensive war of 1967. Israel now has possession for 54 years.

Israel over-complied with UN 242 when it yielded back Kunietra even without a peace gesture from Syria. Syria breached 242 when it again attacked Israel in 1973; despite this attack Israel yielded back new territory it had gained in the direction of Damascus.

Except for Druze, so Syrians now live on the Golan; were the Druze to agitate, it a likely Israel would yield their portion to Syria, but the Druze seem happy to stay in Israel.

Israel now has a robust population living on the Golan and has installed extensive infrastructure.

Geographically the Golan fits with Israel as it is a primary watershed for the Kinneret.

Israel’s ownership of the Golan is that 2 defensive wars, UN 242, time, population, and geography make it a part of Israel. Given Israel’s tiny size, security is a factor as is true for all Israel.

About the Author
Arnold L. Flick was born 1930 of secular, Zionist, Russian-Jewish immigrant parents. He has followed events in Israel since age seven when he first solicited for the “Jews of Palestine” on the streets of Los Angeles as a young member of Habonim. He was in Israel for four months 1990-91 and for two months 2002. He is active in the House of Israel Balboa park, a non-profit museum in Balboa Park, San Diego, that provides information about Israel to its 15,000 annual visitors.