Thursday, November 26, 2015

Letter to UN: The Golan Heights and Why Syria Must Not Get Them Back

Nadene Goldfoot                                                               
Syrian missiles lined up and ready to be aimed at Israel

When Syria held the Golan Heights, 1,200 sq km,  they managed to keep it relatively quiet since 1974 when they realized that Israel's artillery range could reach Damascus.  What Syria had done was  to support many terrorist groups that try to attack Israel from Lebanon--and occasionally from Syria.  Now that they have the problem of their own people turning against the Syrian government as well as ISIS taking the northern part of Syria their missiles could fall into either hands and thus be turned against Israel.

The groups Syria  had been backing were the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP);  the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP);  Hezbollah and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC).  I might say that Syria's backing of such groups as led to her near demise of today's situation.  In trying to destroy Israel, Syria is about to be entirely destroyed, for here is an even more evil and hateful group-ISIS, taking most of the country.  The only place left Assad is holding onto that matters is Damascus.  

Then there was an indication that Syria might allow terrorists such as ISIS to escalate the situation.  In 1991, DFLP terrorists from Syria attacked an Israeli border post on Mt. Hermon, killing an Israeli soldier.  Another raid just like that one happened 2 months later in September 1991.  Several DFLP terrorists were then killed.

About 60 miles away in Western Golan where it is an easy ride to Haifa and Acre, lies Israel's industrial heartland.  The Golan Heights rises from 400 to 1700 feet in the western section which borders on pre-1967 Israel.  It overlooks the Huleh Valley, Israel's agricultural area.  If the Golan is controlled by hostile neighbor, Syria, it can again become a strategic nightmare for Israel.  I feel that is what the UN is actually aiming for.

Before 1967 and the War, Israel's agricultural towns in the Galilee came under fire from the Golan.  The Golan is high and could just rain down bombs.  Counter battery fires were limited for Israel by the lack of observation from the Huleh Valley.  Air attacks were degraded by Syrian positions that could dig in with strong overhead cover.  A ground attack against the position would need major forces with risks of high casualties.  All this could cause severe political repercussions in the UN!  You of course will blame Israel for their own defense.

In 1967 when Israel was attacked from the Golan, it suffered 115 dead, the same number of Americans killed during Operation Desert Storm.

In 1992, Syria had 300,000 troops--75% of its army station on the Israeli front near the Golan Heights.  We see that Assad still has control over the heads of Arab states voting on this in the UN, for it's he that dreams of getting the Golan Heights back.
IDF guarding the Golan Heights-January 2015
If Israel gave the Golan back to a hostile Syria, it would show that the UN favors Assad and that he should stay in power.  It would jeapardize Israel's early-warning system against a surprise attack.  Israel has radars on Mt. Hermon which is the highest point in the Golan.  They would then lose almost all their strategic importance.

As from past experience, nothing Israel would offer to do today would help Syria or Assad.  One has to remember that ISIS is planning on hitting Assad and taking over all the area.  Coming out with such a resolution at this point in time is irresponsible and only shows your determination to also destroy Israel.

Syria's President still, Hafez Assad, has indicated no change to go beyond agreeing to a far more limited "non-belligerency" deal with Israel.   He could not be trusted, anyway.   Has Assad kept his word in the Middle East?  He has attacked his own cities and has gassed his own people.  He has no limit on his degree of punishing people.

No.  Israel needs to retain military control over the Golan Heights in order for the people there and Israel to enjoy peace.  On December 114, 1981, Israel passed a statute enacted by the Knesset that extended Israeli civilian law and administration to the people of the Golan which replaced military authority that had ruled from 1967.  

Syria went on for 14 years to refuse to negotiate a treaty of peace.  Professor Julius Stone of Hastings College of the Law wrote the following for the Knesset.
  "There is no rule of international law which requires a lawful military occupant, in this situation, to wait forever before making control and government of the territory permanent.  ....Many international lawyers have wondered, indeed, at the patience which led Israel to wait as long as she did."  
In January of 2015, "

"Israeli security forces return fire after two rockets allegedly fired from Syria hit region that has become flash point.   Tensions have soared along the ceasefire line since a January 18 air strike attributed to Israel killed six Hezbollah fighters and an Iranian general near Quneitra in Syria. 

In August, five rockets fired from Syria hit the Israeli-occupied sector of the Golan Heights and, in July, Israel shelled Syrian army positions when a rocket struck its territory."

On Sunday, September  27, 2015 " Israel struck Syrian army targets on the Golan Heights and Israel said it was retaliating for cross-border rocket fire from the Syrian War next door."   Now we have the UN coming up with returning the land to a non-existent country, Syria who has not been able to keep its land from ISIS.  

Resource:  Myths and Facts-a concise record of the Arab-Israeli conflict by Mitchell G. Bard, Joel Himelfarb-1992, p. 87-89.

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