Wednesday, 29 May 2024

Arab Nabateans controlled southern Syria from Sinai to Damascus. They established an Arab kingdom, Etorian kingdom that extended from the litani river to the Bakaa valley and northern Palestine and some parts of the Golan . Etorians came from “Hajar” in the Arabian peninsula and settled in Syria. When the Arab Ghassanid kingdom was establishd between the third and the seventh century A.D. Arabs had been settling in this region centuries before that.The name Golan is linked to " Hareth Al Golan" which means "Golan plougher ". This is a hint that the name was derived from the nature of the high land. The name Golan was mentioned several times in pre Islamic Arab poetry. Who Reads the bible and its explanations by the historian Yusofius the Jew, (who lived in the period of Jesus of Christ's birth), will understand that Golan was an Arab region were Arabs had established several kingoms, and that the Jews of Palestine had had neither centers of sovereignty nor settlement, nor influence in the Golan .In the Byzantine period Arab tribes settled in the Golan and many poets used to visit tribal chiefs in the Golan who considered themselves part of the Ghassanids. Ghassanid princes and chieftains used to spend winter and spring in the Golan where they built many palaces and luxarius lodges.

In the seventh century A.D. Golan became a theater for many military operations that preceded the vital Yarmouk battle 636 A.D.. In this battle the Arabs defeated the Byzantine military force and later conquered Damascus. After the completion of the Islamic Arab conquest “Bilad al Sham” (Greater Syria) was divided into five defensive areas called Ajndas (forts). Golan was one of them. This  confirms the fact that since the Islamic conquest Golan history was inseparable from that of Damascus.   During the Crusades, several Golan cities : Banias, jasem, fiq and Tiberia ,were strongholds that protected Golan from Crusade incursions .Banias was the largest. It had a castle called Sabiba. Banias and Sabiba formed the first defensive line of Damascus. Arabs controlled them during all crusade campaigns, and from there Saladin led his army towards Hittin near Tiberia to win the decisive  battle against the crusaders in 1187 A.D. Tiberia , one of the most important towns of the Golan, became a fort and defended Damascus, another proof that the history of Tibaria is strongly linked with the history of Damascus. A main road linked Tiberia to Damascus passing through Alkeswa ,Jasem and fiq. Tiberia became the center of cultural activity in “Bilad al Sham” where many researchers excelled in collecting the speeches of the prophet  Mohammad, in writing books about hereditary origins of Arab tribes, and in writing the biographies of many local Tabarani scholars. Tiberia fell to the crusaders and was  later liberated by Saladin, in the battle of Hittin. People of the Golan participated in the Arab revolution of 1916 against the Ottomans.They also participated  in the Syrian revolution against the French occupation. Many prominent figures from the Golan like Ahmad Mrewed and Mohammad al Fa’our fought in the battles of 1921 and 1926 against the French army.   Since 1948 ,the date of the declaration of Israel, people of the Golan fought hard against Israeli incursions. Many of them were killed defending their villages and farms. In 1967 the people of Majdel Shams resisted the Israeli forces defiantly.The Israelis couldn’t enter the town before burning it.




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