Hadash: The Golan Heights is Occupied Syrian Territory

Hadash criticizes the decision of the government cabinet to hold a meeting Sunday on the occupied Golan Heights. “It doesn’t matter how many cabinet meetings are held on the Golan, it is occupied Syrian territory,” Hadash said. “All elements of the coalition, including Labor, Meretz and Ra’am are responsible for the decisions made during this cabinet meetings,” adds Hadash, “as well as for the deepening of the settlements and the violence of settlers and occupation forces.”

Occupation forces fired rubber bullets and tear gas against Syrian civilians in the occupied Golan on 10 December 2020 on the culmination of several days of aggressive police action against Syrian civilians and farmers who were peacefully protesting against a wind turbine project developed by Energix Renewable Energies Ltd an Israeli energy company (Photo: Al-Marsad Human Rights Center in Golan Heights)

However, Islamist Ra’am party, which is a member of the coalition but has no ministers, did not take part in the meeting. Meretz ministers Tamar Zandberg and Nitzan Horowitz attended the meeting, though Zandberg says the decision was “complicated.”

Israel’s cabinet meeting at the Kibbutz Mevo Hama settlement on the Golan Heights approved a plan “to encourage demographic growth in the settlements of the Golan Region Council and Katzrin between 2022 and 2025.” The ambitious target of the plan is to double the settler’s population of the Golan heights by 2025. “Our goal today is to double the population of the Golan Heights,” the right-wing Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said ahead of the meeting. Bennett is the former head of a settler lobbying council who opposes Palestinian statehood

There are currently 53,000 people living on the Golan heights, half of them are Syrian citizens. Golan Heights Syrians residents are expected to oppose parts of the plan. Opposition is also expected from Israeli environmental organizations over the possible impacts further development could have on the environment and wildlife in the area.

On last February, Arab-Druze citizens of Syria residing in the occupied Golan Heights commemorated the 39th anniversary of their general strike to protest the illegal occupation and unilateral annexation of that territory by Israel.  In demonstrations, hundreds took part in marches and rallies, carrying Syrian national flags, in the Arab-Druze town of Majdal Shams.

The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI), which opposes the government plan, said, “The government decision offers the Golan Heights mainly devastation and destruction to both nature as well as unique open spaces.  All this will be damaged significantly and critically for the sake of a few settlements and infrastructure and energy ventures.”

Israel occupied the Golan Heights during the June 1967 and annexed the territory on December 14, 1981, imposing its laws on the 1,800 square kilometer area comprised of a plateau and its western approaches.  Three days after the Knesset’s ratification of the annexation legislation, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 497, rendering the Israel’s step null and void, with no legal binding on the international level. Apart from the United States, the international community regards the Golan as part of Syria, which lost the territory in the 1967 Six Day War. Israel annexed the Golan in 1981. In 2019, a new town, named Trump Heights, was inaugurated on the Golan to honor Trump’s recognition.


Al-Marsad Human Rights Center in Golan Heights: