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Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Syria - the unknown occupation

Most people have heard the term "Golan Heights" and know that Israel is occupying some small portion of Syria. If I'm typical of most of my readers, and I'll bet I am, few are really familiar with the details of that occupation. Writing in Workers World, an Israeli soldier who fought in the Golan in 1973 fills us in on some of the details:
The area seized by the Zionists had a population before June 1967 of around 148,000, including 9,000 Palestinians who had fled from northern Palestine in 1948.They lived in 139 villages and two towns.

Within a few days after the occupation began the population dropped to around 6,500, as the result of mass expulsion and wartime flight. Those who fled have not been allowed to return.

The provincial capital, also called Quneitra, was totally bulldozed except for a movie theater. It had had a population of 25,000. Only five villages, all located in the northern Golan Heights, remained populated. The others were also bulldozed.

Right behind the Israeli Defense Forces came the Zionist settlers. Today there are over 18,000 settlers living in the Golan Heights in 41 settlements. Some of the settlements are built over the sites of destroyed Syrian villages. The names of geographical features have been changed from Arabic to Hebrew. Aquifers and rivers are under complete Israeli control, with large amounts of water diverted to the settlements.

On Dec. 14, 1981, the Israeli Knesset (parliament) annexed the occupied Syrian lands and demanded that the population accept Israeli ID cards. The Syrians refused--and on Feb. 14, 1982, launched a successful 157-day general strike that forced the Zionists to retreat.
The forcible expulsion of a population. The right of return. Israel committing war crimes by settling occupied lands. Palestine isn't the only place where all these things apply.

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