Golan Heights: most Druze boycott elections; more settlers coming

Summary: most of the Druze on the Golan boycotted the 30 October municipal elections. Separately, Israel has announced plans to increase the number of settlers in the territory. 

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2 thoughts on “Golan Heights: most Druze boycott elections; more settlers coming”

  1. It is clearly not an issue in the foreseeable future but Bashar al Asad will not share his father’s personal commitment to getting the Golan back.
    Hafez al Asad as Defence Minister (under Salah Jedid) in 1967 was responsible for the loss of the Golan Heights and had a very personal commitment to getting them back. In the Shepherdstown negotiations with the Israelis in late 1999 he showed that he was prepared to be extremely flexible on substance so long as he could present the outcome as returning the Heights to Syria. Those negotiations were one of the tantalising might-have-beens of Middle Eastern history: the Israelis (under Barak) proudly leaked the American draft revealing all the concessions that the Syrians made in the working groups on Water, Security arrangements and Peaceful Relations but failed to negotiate at all in the fourth group on Withdrawal.

  2. “The rationale is security: more Jews on the Golan will (say Israeli ministers) make it easier to defend Israel against possible attacks from Syria.” – this is the usual nonsense military justification which relies on general Western ignorance of military principles. The Golan Heights are one of the biggest anti-tank traps in the world, and allow a reverse-slope defensive position for attrition of exposed Syrian forces by the Israeli Air Force. The forward-slope position of having infantry / settlers on the Heights would leave them exposed to Syrian artillery etc fire – i.e. turn them into cannon-fodder.
    “As long as it is dependent on me, the Golan Heights will remain under Israeli sovereignty. Otherwise, we will get Iran and Hezbollah on the banks of the Kinneret [Lake Tiberias].” There has been so much water (over)extraction that it is rather doubtful that al-Asad (or any of his house-guests) could paddle his feet in the Sea of Galilee at his border anymore.
    The key issue is control of the Galilee watershed. More widely, the Zionist Organisation’s submission to the Paris Conference shows that control over the Jordan watershed was a main effort http://www.mideastweb.org/zionistborders.htm The Israeli occupation of South Lebanon and the Golan accomplished much of this.

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