Thursday, 18 July 2024

 

Israeli policy in occupied Golan can be summarized in two main activities: 

expansion and building settlements 

First :Annexing Arab land 

The policy of annexing land represents the core of Zionist thinking and practice. Immediately after 1967 Israeli authorities treated the Golan as a "Israeli owned land". Israeli authorities confiscated % 35 of the land of the 5 villages under occupation ,(that is 35 square km of 100 square km). Israeli authorities practiced all kinds of pressure on Arab villages, prevented them from building ,stalled their organizational plans, annexed parts of their lands, and changed the names of Arab locations into Hebrew names, examples are: Tall Abunnada became: Har Abital, lake Masaada became Berkhet Ram etc…The worst of these practices was the law of annexation of the Golan issued by the Israeli Knesset on 14.12.1981. 

Second: water Israeli water policy in the Golan exceeds land confiscation in tyranny. Occupation authorities considers that aquifers and rivers of the Golan and Palestine are Israeli ownership. Now Israel controls all the sources of water in the Golan including River Banias which gives 100 million cubic meters annually. Israel also controls lake Masaada (6 million cubic meters ) which irrigates neighboring villages. In order to irrigate their field ,Syrian Golan citizen built metal water tanks and dug small pits to collect rain water. Now there are more than 500 tanks and pits with a capacity of half a million cubic meters of water .Occupation authorities imposed high financial taxes on these tanks and pits. If villagers refuse to pay, their tanks and pits will he destroyed. One of the Golan farmers said with bitterness "God sends us rain free of charge but occupation authorities oblige us to pay money for God's gifts" 

Third: settlement Settlement started in the Golan after five weeks of the occupation , that is on 15 July 1967. the first settlement "Merom ha Golan " was built west of Quneitra. Since then 40 other settlements were built. These settlements have military and economic roles. They have about 18000 settlers. All of these settlements were built on the ruins of Arab villages destroyed by Israeli forces. Israel built the Qatsrin settlement ,as a regional capital in the center of the Golan. Settlements like "Nev Atif" and "Nimrod" were built among the five Arab villages and on parts of their land. Fourth : Economic attrition This is implemented by imposing many kinds of taxes on Arab villages. when people refuse to pay they are over taxed and their lands confiscated. Those who object to this policy are detained and fined between 500 and 1500 U.S dollars.

Fifth : Education and culture The policy of education in the Golan can be called a systematic plan of “diseducation” . Immediately after occupation, Arabic Syrian curriculum was replaced by the Israeli curriculum which was imposed on the Arabs of 1948 in Palestine. This was not the case in the West Bank where only few subjects were changed. The level of education is generally weak. Most qualified teachers were dismissed. The new Israeli curriculum reflects a distorted culture that contradicts with the traditions and heritage of the Golan citizens and their relations with their home land Syria. It concentrates on sectarian values. A subject titled "Heritage of the Durze" was imposed since 1976. This subject fabricates false traditions to this part of our people in order to alienate it from the sources of his pride: Pan Arabism and Islam . Arab citizens particularly students mocked this subject and refused to accept it saying :" we have no special heritage. Our heritage is the Arab Islamic heritage .Our history is part of the total history of the Arab people". To correct these practices, Syrian Radio & T.V transmits special educational programs directed to the Arab students in occupied Golan and Palestine. 

The highest educational level in the Golan is the secondary school. the small numbers of high school students and the lack of financial resources do not help establishing a university. Enlisting in Israeli universities is nearly closed to Arab students because of the high scores required for acceptance, which Arab students cannot acquire due to the weak level of education in occupied territories. Another reason is the high fees in Israeli universities that Arab students can not afford. To solve the problem Syria opened its universities to the Golan students. The first group crossed the borders in 1977 with the help of the Red Cross. In 1981, after issuing the law of annexation Israel prevented Golan students from joining Syrian universities. In 1990 students resumed study in Syria again. To avoid cultural seclusion imposed on Arabs by Israeli authorities, Golan citizen practice many cultural activities in cooperation and coordination with Arabs of the West Bank and Gaza and the Arab Palestinians of 1948. Sixth :Health care Israeli occupation authorities deliberately neglect health services in the Golan. They even closed the only health center that survived the war and changed it into a resident to the military governor. People are obliged to pay health taxes against what Israel calls "health insurance". Because Israel offers no real health services ,Golanis depend mostly on Arab hospitals in the Galilee, West Bank and Jerusalem regions. Syrian physicians in the Golan receive patients from the occupied villages in their private clinics. In 1994 a medical center was opened in Majdal Shams with the help of the local residents and the "Society of Graduates in the Golan". Other health services were opened in the other villages to give service to the patients. physicians charge symbolic fees or no fees at all. There is no hospital, no analysis laboratory or specialized clinics in the Golan.

 

Seveth:Social Relations

Golani people contact with their Syrian kins, relatives and visitors of the Golan through loudspeakers from the top of the valley at the ceasefire line east of Majdal Shams. The valley has several mine fields and concertina line. It is 400 m wide, hence it is called the Shouting Valley. Every visitor to the site feels the heavy stress of occupation and the human pain of families separated on both sides of the valley. In this site many tragic events took place. An old lady died while she was shouting to her son on the other side of the valley. When she fell dead, her son couldn’t even touch her hand which was stretching towards him.

 

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