Golan Heights – War and Peace between Syria and Israel – Trend Expert
Israel, Jerusalem, 28 April / Trend corr. Arye Gut / Most of the Israelis fear unexpected attack on the Golan Heights or even return of the Golan Heights back to Syria through the peace negotiations. The residents of Golan Heights have important strategic meaning, as they give Israel control over the fertile Khula lands. Even the remote idea about returning of Golan Heights back to Syria cause fear amongst Israelis, as the tanks and artillery dislocated in Golan Heights may bomb the Israeli settlements. Specialists, however, stated that occupation of Golan Heights does not assure Israel from artillery bombing from the Syrian territory.
Damascus lost sovereignty over Golan Heights in 1967 during the Six days war, where Israel won Syria, Egypt and Jordan. Since then, Israel and Syria have been in the state of war. Syria, as well as the international community, has never recognized the sovereignty of Israel over Golan Heights. Official Damask stated repeatedly that it might normalize the relations and recognize Israel only after Jerusalem would return back these lands. In 1973, during the War of Judgment Day, the Syrian Armed Forces owing to sudden attack could gain control over the southern part of Golan Heights. However, the Israeli militaries managed to get it back the lost lands. In November 1981, the Knesset passed a bill which envisages expansion of Israeli legislation over the lands, but the lands were not annexed.
The will of Syria to take control over Golan Heights again and Israeli unwillingness to make compromise are caused by geopolitical, military-political and economical issues. First of all, there is a good condition in the Heights to review, listen and fire at Damask Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. From the military point of view, Golan Heights have significant meaning for entire middle east region. Both countries want to keep the control over the territory. Secondly, the Jordan River, which is important water source for the both countries, springs from the Heights.
Furthermore, several other rivers are running from the Heights, which have significant meaning for dry climate in the region. So, Syria and Israel fear that they will be deprived of water in the case of intensification of relations. Israel aims to control Banias, where one of the thirds main sources of Jordan River, as well as Tiveriad lake is located. Israel is unlikely to agree to pass the control over Banias even if it is granted with the hot sources of El-Khamm of Tiveriad lake's southern region.
Many Israeli experts on the Israeli-Syrian relations ask themselves a question why the Israeli administration headed by Olmert is full of 'pink' hopes towards Bashar Asad's Government, while the leaders of leading Arabian countries do not trust Syria, which has relation with Iran and supports Hezbollah, and while America does not trust Syria so much that even being the upholder of the peace negotiations it anyway opposes the negotiations between Israel and Asad.
The fact that Damask recognizes Iran as its strategic partner raises reason for serious doubt in Asad's peace approach to solve the Syrian-Israeli problems.
Syria, which has been in isolation, is economically weak and is just capable to protect its own territories. Official Jerusalem follows the situation in the north border, growth force of Hezbollah, which is supported by Damask and events happening behind the borders of Israel. Israel is a very strong country in the region. However, most people in Israel understand that the peace is quite far, as Syria through the political and financial support of Teheran supports Hezbollah and Hamas, which oppose Israel. Syria stated repeatedly about peace with Israel, however, it is difficult for official Damask, which has military-political contacts with Iran, to launch negotiations with Israel.