The Golan Heights Prior to the 1967 Israeli Occupation

All these villages were razed to the ground where new Israeli Settlements were Built instead for thousands of immigrants from all over the world, when the genuine people were uprooted to makeshift tents and houses away from the land of the ancestors!


 
  

 

 

 

 Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, August 2006, pages 16-17

Special Report

In the Ghost Towns of the Occupied Golan, Five Villages Defiantly Wave the Syrian Flag

By Isabelle Humphries


IT IS HARD TO imagine how people living under Israeli occupation retain hope when even so-called “independent” humanitarian workers are residing in illegal Jewish-only settlements. Al Marsad, a non-governmental organization (NGO) in Syria’s occupied Golan Heights, reported in June that members of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) delegation have been staying in the Israeli Golan settlement of Neve Ativ. The settlement is founded on the ruins of the Syrian village of Jabatha Al Zeit, whose 3,000 residents were expelled across the border into Syria following Israel’s victory in the Six-Day War.

Before the Israeli attack and occupation of June 1967, the Syrian province of Quneitra, now known internationally as the Golan Heights, was made up of around 137 villages and 61 farms. Today only five villages remain.

 

The statue “Continuity,” erected in 1991 by occupied Golanis in the heart of Majdal Shams, ostensibly depicts Syrians who led the resistance against the colonial French in the 1920s (Staff Photo I. Humphries).

In the town square of Majdal Shams, the capital of the occupied district, stands a statue of four Syrian resistance fighters against 1920s French colonialism. The symbolism of this image, named “Continuity,” did not escape the Israeli authorities, who attempted to prevent its creation two decades ago. Even after failed attempts to blow it to pieces, however, the statue still stands with Syrian flag fluttering in the breeze, a representation in bronze of the tenacity of the people living around it.

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Syria reports to UN on Israeli violations in Golan heights

 

Damascus : The Syrian Foreign Ministry has handed to a United Nations panel a report on Israel's "systematic violations of human rights and properties" in the occupied territories in Palestine and the Syrian Golan Heights.

Israel has persisted in annexing the lands and properties of Arab citizens in the occupied territories and subjecting civilian detainees to inhuman treatment, the ministry said in its 39th report to the UN Thursday.

Israel continues to deprive Arab citizens of water resources for the sake of Jewish settlers, representative of the ministry, Jala Ateyya, told a press conference, citing the report.

According to the report, the Jewish state is still refusing to disclose the maps of landmines with led to ever-growing number of casualties in the region.

It said that Israel is dumping nuclear waste in some parts of the Golan Heights in total disregard to the relevant provisions of the international law and the international declaration of human rights.

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General Assembly underscores need for international support to revitalize Middle East peace process GA/10428

Sixtieth General Assembly

Plenary

Six Texts Adopted by Recorded Vote, Following Annual Debate on Palestine , Wider Middle East

The General Assembly today wrapped up its annual consideration of the question of Palestine and the situation in the wider Middle East, adopting six traditional resolutions, underscoring, above all, that sustained international involvement was urgently needed to support both the Palestinian and Israeli sides in revitalizing the peace process and towards the speedy resumption of negotiations leading to a final settlement.

Convinced that achieving a final and peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine –- the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict –- was the key to stability in the Middle East, the Assembly adopted, by vote of 156 in favour to 6 against (Australia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, United States), with 9 abstentions (Cameroon, Canada, Costa Rica, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tuvalu, Uganda, Vanuatu), a text stressing the need for Israel’s withdrawal from the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967. (See Annex IV)

The resolution welcomed the recent agreement on movement and access between the two sides -– leading to the opening of the Rafah Crossing between Gaza and Egypt last Friday -- in the wake of Israel’s disengagement from the Gaza Strip and parts of the West Bank. The Assembly stressed the need to ensure that the new commitments followed the agreed timeline, and also emphasized the need for the parties, with the help of the international community, to speedily and fully resolve the remaining issues in the Gaza Strip, including a durable arrangement for the airport, construction of the seaport and removal of rubble.

On Jerusalem, the Assembly adopted a resolution reiterating its determination that any actions taken by Israel to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration in the Holy City are illegal and, therefore, null and void, and have no validity whatsoever. It did so by a recorded vote of 153 in favour to 7 against (Costa Rica, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 12 abstentions. (See Annex VI)

That text reaffirmed the international community’s interest in protecting the city’s unique spiritual, religious and cultural character, and stressed that a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the question of Jerusalem –- which took into account the legitimate concerns of both sides –- must include internationally guaranteed provisions to ensure freedom of religion and of conscience, and permanent, free and unhindered access of all to holy places.

The resolution on the Syrian Golan, adopted by a recorded vote of 106 in favour to 6 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, United States), with 62 abstentions, stressed the illegality of Israeli settlement activities in the occupied Syrian Golan since 1967, and determined once more that the continued occupation and de facto annexation constitute a stumbling block to achieving a just, comprehensive peace in the region. (See Annex V)

n addition to resuming talks with Syria and Lebanon, and respecting commitments and undertakings reached during the previous talks, the world body also once again demanded a complete withdrawal from the occupied Syrian Golan to the 4 June, 1967 line.

Also today, the Assembly adopted three texts concerning the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, the Division for Palestinian Rights, and the Department of Public Information’s special information programme on Palestine, all by recorded votes. (See Annexes I, II and III, respectively.)

Explanations of vote were made by the representatives of Canada, Uruguay, Australia, United Kingdom (on behalf of the European Union and associated States), Argentina (also on behalf of Brazil) and Iran.

The Observer for Palestine made a general statement, as did the representative of Syria.

The representative of the United Kingdom (on behalf of the European Union and associated States) made a statement before action on the texts.

The Assembly will reconvene at a time and date to be announced.

Background

The General Assembly met today to take action on several draft resolutions related to the question of Palestine and the situation in the Middle East.

Under its item on Palestine, the Assembly had before it four texts. A draft resolution on the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (document A/60/L.28), would request the Committee to continue to exert all efforts to promote the realization of the rights of the Palestinian people, to support the Middle East peace process and to mobilize international support for and assistance to the Palestinian people.

A text on the Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat (document A/60/L.29), would have the Assembly request the Secretary-General to continue to provide that Division with the necessary resources, to ensure that it continues to carry out its programme of work, and to ensure the continued cooperation of the Department of Public Information (DPI) and other units of the Secretariat, in enabling the Division to perform its tasks and in covering adequately the various aspects of the question of Palestine.

A draft resolution on the special information programme on the question of Palestine of the Department of Public Information of the Secretariat (document A/60/L.30), would have the Assembly request the DPI, in cooperation and coordination with the Committee, to continue its special information programme through 2006-2007, in particular, to disseminate information on all the activities of the United Nations system relating to the question of Palestine; to expand its collection of audio-visual material on the question of Palestine in all fields; and to organize and promote fact-finding news missions for journalists to the Occupied Territories, including East Jerusalem.

A draft resolution on the peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine (document A/60/L.31), would have the Assembly, while welcoming the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and parts of the northern West Bank as a step towards the implementation of the Road Map, call on both parties to fulfil their obligations for such implementation by taking parallel and reciprocal steps, and stress the urgency of establishing a credible and effective third-party monitoring mechanism. It would call on Israel, the occupying Power, to comply strictly with its obligations under international law with respect to the alteration of the character and status of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.

Furthermore, the Assembly would demand that Israel immediately cease its construction of the wall, and demand the complete cessation of all Israeli settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the Occupied Syrian Golan. It would stress the need for the withdrawal of Israel from the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, and for the realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, primarily the right to self-determination and to their independent State. It would also stress the need for resolving the problem of Palestinian refugees in conformity with its resolution 194 (III) of 11 December 1948.

Regarding the situation in the Middle East, the Assembly had before it a draft resolution on the Syrian Golan (document A/60/L.32), which would have it declare that the Israeli decision of 14 December, 1981, to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the occupied Syrian Golan, is null and void and has no validity whatsoever, and demand once more that Israel withdraw from all the occupied Syrian Golan to the line of 4 June, 1967. The Assembly would also call on Israel to resume the talks on the Syrian and Lebanese tracks and to respect the commitments and undertakings reached during the previous talks.

By the provisions of a draft resolution on Jerusalem (document A/60/L.33), the Assembly would reiterate its determination that any action taken by Israel to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on Jerusalem are illegal and, therefore, null and void and have no validity whatsoever, and would deplore the transfer by some States of their diplomatic missions to that city. It would stress that a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the question of Jerusalem should take into account the legitimate concerns of the Palestinian and Israeli sides, and should include internationally guaranteed provisions to ensure the freedom of religion and of conscience of its inhabitants, as well as permanent and unhindered access to the holy places by the people of all religions and nationalities.

Action on Drafts

In explanation of position before the vote, ADAM THOMSON ( United Kingdom), speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, welcomed the recent positive developments in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as the forthcoming multi-party elections for the Palestinian Legislative Council foreseen for 25 January, 2006. They represented significant steps towards implementing the Road Map and should be taken into consideration in existing United Nations structures.

In relation to streamlining the Assembly’s work, he continued, it was gratifying that the Palestinian delegation withdrew its draft resolution on Palestinian children in the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) this year and incorporated elements into an existing resolution. Also, existing structures, such as the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, should be updated to better reflect political developments and realities on the ground. Its terms of reference should also be re-examined to reflect the spirit of the peace process. With two new members who had historically held a different view from the Union on that matter, the Union’s voting pattern would reflect its respect for their position.

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Israeli Parties and the Golan

When the Labor Party Government assumed authority in Israel, the Israeli government attempted to adjust the policy of its predecessor, but still within the framework of maneuvering, procrastination and attempting to deal with each Arab side individually.

Yitzhak Rabin was among many enthusiasts of realizing autonomy with the Palestinians and postponing the agreement with Syria to a later stage. But with the advent of the sixth round of negotiations Israel considered that there had been a surprising Syrian attitude and a transfer which made a seriously-great Israeli response to the new data inevitable in order not to lose the opportunity of "stabilizing the peace", but the Golan still invoked a lot of multi-important issues in Israel, the foremost being the strategic importance from the military point of view, the destination of settlements, their resulting legal entities in consideration of the law issued by the Israeli Knesset in 1981 imposing Israeli laws, jurisdiction and administration in the Heights, which implied the annexation of the Golan.

Israeli changes, alterations and discussions about the Golan were being introduced, the first of which began in a session of the Knesset's Commission for Security and Foreign Affairs. Peres was quoted in that session as saying that the introducing of modern non-traditional weapons into the area does not leave any choice for Syria and Israel than the peace agreement. Declarations followed thereafter requesting to adjust the strategic depth adopted by the Israeli fighting methodology and the withdrawal, besides declaration to abolish the Israeli law on the Occupied Golan and recognize the Syrian identity of the Golan.

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