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Sunday, February 04, 2007

The insanity of negotiating the Golan

The news last week was that Israel has been secretly negotiating with Syria over the Golan Heights. Already the MSM is starting to push for such an agreement.

This is idiocy beyond imagination.

The strategic value of the Golan cannot be undersetimated. It is not just "high ground," it is a mountain range:


The Golan not only dominates the land below, but also Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee):


Between 1948 and 1967, the Jews who lived on the shores of the Kinneret were shelled constantly from Syria, forcing them to spend every night in bomb shelters. Look at the Ein Gev resort:

Beautiful yes, but also extremely vulnerable.

Not only were the villages shelled, but so were the fishermen on the lake.

Some may argue that the Syria of today is not the same Syria as then. This is crazy - Syria is the conduit for 100% of Hezbollah's rockets, last summer as well as today. Syria hosts Hamas ans other major terror groups.

To pin hope on Syria's antipathy towards Islamist extremism is naive beyond belief - when has any Arab country publicly sided with Israel over any Muslim extremists?

Furthermore, the Golan is as much a part of ancient Israel as any other part of Israel. The major town on the Golan today, Katzrin, was a seat of Torah learning during Talmudic times, with the remains of synagogues still visible. Here is one originally built during Hashmonean times and later rebuilt during Byzantine rule:



Look at the top of the columns: a stylized Torah and etrog:

And on one of the walls, a menorah:


Also, the Golan was the site of a major Jewish stronghold during the Jewish Revolt against Rome with a suicidal outcome that predated Masada by a few years, at Gamla.

There is no question that the Golan is strategically and historically of supreme importance to Israel. The entire reason that Israel does not have a direct threat from Syria is because Israel controls the Golan today. So which is better: an illusory "peace" like the one with Egypt where a single bullet can turn Sinai into a forward position against Israel again, or a time-tested detente against Syria where Israel controls the high ground and from where Syria doesn't dare make a move?

The thought of giving it up to a nation that still actively supports terror is utter insanity.