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June 14, 2012 2:58 pm

No Apologies: Assad, Israel, and the Golan Heights

avatar by Alexander Kogan

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An IDF soldier standing guard at a military base in the Golan Heights. Photo: wiki commons.

Last year was different from all the years I lived in Israel. For the first time since 1990 I haven’t heard or noticed any serious ‘peacemaking activity’ aimed in the Syrian direction. Nobody talked about ‘pacifying’ our northern neighbor with those pesky little Golan Heights – an obstacle on the way to a flourishing and fruitful coexistence with the Syrian regime. Nobody even mentioned the amazing, but never tasted ‘hummus of Damascus’, which was one of the most renowned symbols of what Israelis were losing while clutching to that tiny chunk of mountain area.

For almost two decades I took part in the sometimes too fiery battles trying to get explanations how exactly things might turn better if Israel gave up the Golan. I was called names, of which ‘fearmonger’ and ‘puny alarmist’ were the most gracious. I have stopped actively arguing about the Golan and peace, reckoning that the majority of Israelis are on my side.

And then, suddenly the Arab Spring started, and it turned out Bashar Assad is not such an effective administrator as his father Hafez was. Yes, I mean old daddy Assad knew how to use his tools – chemical weapons and stuff. His ‘scorched earth management’  proved highly productive in Hama, leaving approximately 30,000 bodies in one month. The young current ruler is no match for him – he managed to kill only 14,000 a year. Well, one may claim that he is twice as moderate as his daddy was. And it’s a pity that we didn’t make peace with him…

Yes, I am kidding. Who wouldn’t be after hearing that the collapse of Bashar’s regime could see the Syrian part of the Golan Heights fall to groups like al-Qaeda.

Here is a quote from the AFP’s report from the last week. “If the Assad regime will fall, the biggest threat is that the northern border, the no-man’s land, can be taken over by groups like al-Qaeda,” the official in Israel’s northern command said on condition of anonymity. The fear is that the strategic plateau could slide into a situation similar to that in Sinai, where a wave of lawlessness has left the Egyptian army struggling powerless to rein in militant activity. For Israel, the ongoing bloodshed in Syria has also raised fears that Damascus’s stockpile of sophisticated weapons could fall into the hands of militants, including Lebanon’s Shi’ite militia Hezbollah, which fought a war with Israel in 2006. Last month, Major General Yair Golan, head of the Israeli military’s northern command, said the concern was that Syria’s stockpile of strategic weapons, including “the world’s largest stockpile of chemical weapons,” could end up in Hezbollah’s hands”.

And now, the weapons which remain in Syrian hands after what was used in the most recent Hama massacre may be divided between Hezbollah and ”groups like al-Qaeda”. If the regime falls, of course. But if it survives then everything is fine… Shall we hear again about land for hummus? Well, we can definitely trust the guy who kills thousands of his own people, can’t we?

No, we can’t. And the only thing we should hear is an apology. From the apologists of the ‘Golan for peace’ doctrine, which could have exploded in our faces.  From those who organized massive international pressure on Israel to give up this territory despite objections of the total majority of citizens of our democratic state.

But I doubt that we shall ever hear that. Because, frankly, there were two types of supporters of this ‘peacemaking’ initiative. Those, who were and are utterly naïve, and still live in an unrealistic dream, hoping to pacify everybody, including al-Qaeda,  and those, whose aspirations have nothing in common with keeping Israel safe.

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  • kevobx

    Isaiah 37:11 Behold, thou hast heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all the lands by destroying them utterly: and shalt thou be delivered? *Isaiah 37:18-19 Of truth, Lord, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations, and their countries, And have casts their gods into the fire: for they were no gods, but the work of men’s hand, wood and stone: therefore they have destroyed them. *Acts 5:29 Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.

  • kevobx

    Damascus, is the salvation of Paul? *Acts 22:11 And when I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of them that were with me, I came into Damascus. (Jerusalem is in a trance, transforming like Satan himself *Jeremiah 9:11) *Acts 22:17 And it came to pass, that, when I was come again to Jerusalem, even while I prayed in the temple, I was in a trance; And saw him saying unto me, Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem : for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me. (Zechariah 12:10 equals John 19:34). *Numbers 24:16 He hath said, which heard the words of God, and knew the knowledge of the most High, which saw the vision of the Almighty, falling into a trance, but having his eyes open: (Mark 8:25)

  • kevobx

    The state of Israel is the star of David versus the star of Jacob, Jesus Christ? *Isaiah 7:8 For the head of Syria is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is Rezin; and within threescore and five years shall Ephraim be broken, that it be not a people.

    • Robert Sklar

      The Star of David is the star of Israel. The star of Jacob is also the star of Israel, for the Jacob is Israel. The star of Jacob refers to the coming of Moshiach, the Messiah. When Jesus returns,we will ask him, “Is this your first visit or your second visit???!!! In the meantime, let us pray together for peace and understanding.In the words of the recently deceased Rodney King, “Can’t we all get along???.

  • Robert Sklar

    What is the proper emotion to express to those people who have steadfastly denied Israel’s basic sovereignty to determine its borders and its immigration policy. Pity? empathy? Certainly not anger, where there proposed policies have be proven so utterly naive and dangerously wrong. Five reasons why Israel and cannot and should not give Syria the Golan Heights. 1) TThe Golan was originally part of the Palestine Mandate. Article 5 expressly forbade the Britain to transfer to any part of the Mandate. Britain violated this provision by transferring the Golan to France in exchange for the oil producing Kirkuk region of Iraq. 2)Borders are traditionally determined by watersheds. One of the principle objectives of the Lewis and Clark Exposition was to determine the watershed of the Upper Missouri river, which would determine the border between the United States and Canada (at that time still a colony of Britain). The Golan contains the entire Northern watershed of the Jordan River and cannot be separated geologically from Israel. 3) The Golan is and always has been an integral part of the land west of the Jordan River, whatever ruling jurisdiction was in power over the people inhabiting the land west of the Jordan River for at least 3000 years. 4) We do not have to look further than each of the countries making up the Arab League to know the politics of conquest. Indigenous peoples from North Africa to south west Asia continue to seek self determination over their ancestral lands: Tte Sarahawi in Western Sahara, the Berber in Morocco and Algeria, the Taureg in Libya and Mali; the Copts in Egypt; the Jews in the land west of the Jordan River; the Christians in Lebanon; the Kurds in Syria, Turkey, Iraq and Iran; the Fur people in the Sultanate of Darfur, Sudan; the Bantu in Somalia; the Assyrians in Iraq, to name a few. Syria lost sovereignty over the Golan, which by right of history, geography, and geology is Israeli land when they initiated a war against Israel. Syria then, and Syria now, dreams of a greater Syria which spans from the Euphrates to the Nile. 5) For strategic reasons, Israel must maintain sovereignty over the Golan. The two two other nations seeking hegemony in the middles, Turkey and Iran, are specific examples of the danger of empire seeking nations. Turkey occupies everyone of its neighbors: Greece (western Thrace; Cyprus (northern Cyprus-TRNC); Syria (Alexandretta; Kurdistan (southeastern Anatolia; Armenia (northwestern Anatolia; Georgia and Bulgaria continue to have border disputes with Turkey. Iran: Less than 50% of Iran is Persian. Iran occupies southern Azerbaijan; southeastern Kurdistan; and eastern Baluchistan. Fully 50% of Iran is made from the occupied land of its neighbors. Thank you for your eloquent voice of reason. One only has to follow the progression of Nazi Germany’s and the Soviet Union’s conquests to know the intentions and techniques of the Arab League, Turkey, and Iran.