Archive for the ‘Golan Heights’ Category

Tuesday February 7, 2017 – Israel Hayom

Tuesday February 7, 2017
Israel Hayom
This about-face should be accompanied by expansive construction and the historical step of annexation — the application of Israeli law over the Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria, as we did in Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. This is necessary to …

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Tuesday February 7, 2017 – Israel Hayom

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What About The Golan Heights? | Scribd

We have finally encountered the 35th anniversary of the Israeli Knessets annexation of the Golan Heights, which took place on 14 December 1981. There is also been the issue following the inclinations of Zionist leaders, who believe that with the current situation in Syria, the international community might finally recognise Israels annexation of the Golan Heights. The former secretary of Benjamin Netanyahu, Zvi Hauser, is the most prominent advocate of this outcome. Hauser wrote an article a few days ago titled From Annexation to Recognition in which he wrote that in light of the recent US elections, the Israelis might receive a financial deposit that would ensure the maintenance of Israels control over the Golan Heights. Hauser also wrote that this new found American support for Israels annexation of the Golan Heights would serve as a form of compensation after the nuclear deal with Tehran.

Hauser touched upon Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Liebermans request for the renewal of a collateral letter sent by former US President George Bush to the former Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, in 2004. The letter ensured the US support for the preservation of major settlement blocks in the US in the event of a major peace settlement with the Palestinians. A similar letter was sent by former US President Gerald Ford to Yitzhak Rabin in 1975, regarding the Golan Heights and the US support for the plateau to remain under Israeli control until peace is achieved.

The above-mentioned letter was sent before the formalisation law; however, the United Nations and the international community have not officially recognised the annexation of the Golan Heights. They have both treated the Golan Heights as occupied Syrian territory. In fact, the US has previously attempted to moderate negotiations between Benjamin Netanayhu during his first tenure (1996-1999) and former Syrian President Hafez Al-Assad, with regards to the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Golan Heights. American businessman and philanthropist, Ron Lauder, served as a mediator at the time. In 2011, Netanyahu conducted indirect talks with Bashar Al-Assad via American mediation. The two American figures overseeing these talks claimed that Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to a full withdrawal from the Golan Heights in exchange for peace with Syria and an end to the peace agreement between Syria, Iran and Hezbollah.

Following Netanyahu first time in office, there was a second round of negotiations in 1999-2000, in which Uri Sagi was appointed the president of the Israeli coalition. At that time, Sagi made a comments saying: We are very close to a peace deal, even more than the public knows. He confirmed that there was a draft of an agreement that touched upon all points including borders, water ad security coordination. Sagi alleges that he met with two Syrian officials under American mediation. The goal of these meetings was to reach a peace agreement and it was confirmed that more than 80 per cent of the issues in question for both sides had been agreed upon. In response to the question as to why there has yet to be an official peace agreement with Syria, despite all of these claims, Sagi responded: Each side attempted to accuse the other side and I believe that Israel has a large part to play in all of this. He insists that the negotiations were not halted because of a dispute over the north-east of lake Tiberias, for there were solutions to consider; however, we had to convince the public and our leaders did not try to do this or they would have succeeded.

Sagi ultimately felt that a Syria under Assad family rule would have secured the northern border. Regardless of whether or not an agreement would have been terminated with Iran as far as Syria is concerned, there could have at least been an indirect channel of negotiation between Israel and Tehran. Therefore, Syrias connection would have proved useful.

What is the difference, then, between what was then and what is the case now? The difference is not that great: In the past, Israel would have considered and would have been prepared to return to the Golan Heights to Syria and today, it is insisting on gaining international recognition for its annexation of the territory. This factor is related to which party can ensure the safety and the security of borders and what lies behind them.

Translated from Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, 21 December 2016.

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December 22, 2016   Posted in: Golan Heights  Comments Closed

Ynetnews Opinion – Golan Heights: From annexation to recognition

Wednesday marked 35 years since the enactment of the Golan Heights Law, which applied Israeli law to the Golan Heights and essentially annexed the Golan to the State of Israel.

Since the law was enacted, the face of the Middle East has changed beyond recognition. The Syrian state has collapsed, and at the same time there appears to be a strategic change in the geopolitical perception of the United States in terms of the Middle East.

IDF soldiers in the Golan Heights (Photo: EPA)

The Golan is the most mature place for an attempt to achieve a change in the rules of the game which we have known for the past 50 years. In the Golan Heights, there is no component of controlling another people. Syria, if it even continues to exist as one state, will never be the same. The human rights discourse is irrelevant for the Golan. In a reality in which 25,000 of its Druze residents are entitled to citizenship in the only democracy in the Middle East, the Syrian alternative has never seemed more delusional to them.

All this should lead to a change in the anachronistic international convention that the border between Syria and Israel should be along the shores of the Sea of Galilee. The groundlessness of this convention is being proved on a daily basis in light of the incomprehensible bloodshed which has been taking place in Iraq and Syria, reaching the Golan Heights, for half a decade now.

A coordination of expectations process should be held with the international community, and first and foremost with the new American administration and with the US Congress, as to the alternatives of controlling the area between the edges of Quneitra and the Sea of Galilee, in an overall context of stabilizing the region: Neither the Islamic States Islamic Caliphate nor the jihadists of Jabhat al-Nusra and al-Qaeda or an Iran-Hezbollah-Assad foothold in the Sea of Galilee will allow the stabilization and recovery of the region. There is no other horizon in the Middle East apart from the Israeli horizon.

The election of Donald Trump as the US president, who enjoys a majority in both Houses of Congress, creates a concrete opportunity for another discussion on the Israeli compensation in light of the nuclear agreement with Iran. It will be a historical failure if Israel settles merely for tactical needs of advanced means of warfare as a response to the agreement.

The balancing formula vis–vis the Iranian achievement (and the Assad murderousness) should include, alongside a maximum restriction of the Iranian nuclearization danger, an curbing Irans conventional aggression potential and preventing the creation of a Tehran-Ein Gev land route, through a final international rejection of the Iranian-Assad ambition to retake control of the Golan Heights, which is less than 1 percent of the territory of what used to be Syria.

The apparent rare ability of the new American administration to hold a constructive discussion with Russia about the Middle East, as well as Bashar Assads special situation and his complete dependence on Russia, could serve the Israeli interest in the Golan Heights. We should advance a coordination of interests between the US, Russia and Israel regarding an arrangement for the day after the war in Syria and work in every way to include Israels needs in the discourse between the world powers on the future of Syria and the Assad regime.

The minimum required strategic guarantee is a presidential commitment and legislation in the American Congress, which will secure the Israeli control of the Golan Heights and end the discussion of the issue. This is not a groundless idea. In 1975, President Gerald Ford gave a written presidential commitment to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, which included an American acknowledgement of the Israeli need to remain in the Golan Heights even at times of peace.

Zvi Hauser is a former cabinet secretary.

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Ynetnews Opinion – Golan Heights: From annexation to recognition

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December 18, 2016   Posted in: Golan Heights  Comments Closed

Al-Marsad | Arab Human Rights Centre in Golan Heights …

Britain, Netherlands and Ireland have condemned ongoing violations of international law by Israel in the Occupied Syrian Golan that include illegal settlement expansion, natural resource exploitation, land appropriation and home… Read more

Al-Marsad has written to the EU, European governments and the Permanent Members of the UN Security Council regarding the approval last month by the Israeli government to expand the largest… Read more

Al-Marsad condemns plans by the Israeli government to build 1600 homes in the illegal Israeli settlement of Katzrin in the Occupied Syrian Golan. According to reports yesterday, the Israeli Finance… Read more

Al-Marsad and theDemocratic Progress Institute (DPI) publish a new report examining the Syrian refugee crisis from a conflict-resolution and human rights perspective, focusing on the situation in Lebanon, Turkey, and… Read more

For more than 5 years, Syria has been suffering a terrible conflict that has caused death and destruction, resulting in gross international law violations, in a seemingly endless and indescribable… Read more

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December 18, 2016   Posted in: Golan Heights  Comments Closed

Golan Heights – 11 Photos & 56 Reviews – Middle Eastern …

56

Amazing food!!!! I love this place. It’s fresh, clean, and the food is so freakin good!!!!

Absolutely delicious! The laffa is superb. The lamb bacon is the best that I’ve ever had and the potatoes latkes….there are no words to describe. The eggplant is my favorite and the falafel are the best in the city. Yeshiva University! You are sooooo lucky to have Golan Heights right across the street!

The food was okay, but the staff is very rude to it’s customers. I didn’t feel like they wanted me there and I felt pressured to leave the restaurant. I ordered a shawarma and it was a 3/10 in my rating scale. The meat wasn’t very good quality and the vegetables that I added were masking the taste of the food and left my mouth numb for an hour for some reason. I love Israeli food but this is one place I won’t be returning to. I’ll go to some place downtown or in Brooklyn.

Always loved the food here but the way I was treated by person behind the register is just so unprofessional and was so shocking. I called them asking if I can make an order for pickup on the phone since I know parking is very difficult in their area. When I told him what I wanted to order he said that food is ready and doesn’t need to be prepared so it’s not worth his time for me to order it on the phone and immediately hung up on me. I called back stating that I eat there at least once a week and that I would pay over the phone since I’m just trying to avoid getting a parking ticket since there’s no parking. In typical kosher service he told me to go somewhere else. Food is good but you can treat customers like that.

Solid shawarma place in the heights. Nothing else like it in the surrounding neighborhood. Huge portions, delicious food.

Ordered a schwarma in a laffa. The food was fine. The restaurant itself looks disgusting. It is catering to the YU college crowd, so I am sure they are not very discriminating. The tables and floor are old and dirty. There are tons of full black garbage bags and old raincoats near the front door. The bathroom is dingy and old. This place needs a top-to-bottom upgrade. Food was a 4. Restaurant itself is a 1.

The best shawarma outside of Israel! Quick and friendly service, and they fill up the pita for you, not like other places that let you just do it yourself… Food tastes fresh and they have a great selection of salads.

Excellent fare here Recommend the shnitzel sandwich, especially. This is now my favorite falafel place, displacing Cinderella and The Hummus Place.

We tried this Israeli restaurant yesterday in search of Mediterranean food. Restaurant looks very much run down in appearance. Restroom was not clean. But oh dear God, food was delicious. We ordered kufta, flafel, chetzi chetzi and beef shish. And each bit of each dish tasted incredible even though the dishes were very simple in their looks. Beef could have been cooked somewhat more. It is a self-service place. They prepare food rather fast. Seemed a very busy take out place when we visited.

A very good chicken shawarma sandwich ($8-9) with fries inside and a diverse selection of condiments including cabbage, carrots, pickles, wine sauce, hot sauce, green sauce, etc. Great service and a fine place for a quick bite.

The food is pretty good.. No other good kosher options really in the heights. This is the best you’ll get. The prices just got higher over the summer, which isn’t smart especially if you are catering to Jewish college student and Rabbis. I switch off between a couple different things when I go there, but I just found out that one of the items was just price raised about $3 plus tax.. Which is in my opinion stupid because this item is one of the most popular items on the menu. Granted it does come with a soda/water. But it is not a good idea.

I’ve been there few times , I can assure that they’ve one of the best shawarma in Manhattan , I tried it in too many restaurants ( Turkish …etc ) but theirs is so delicious and amazing , I can’t wait to go back there , thanks for this great food .

Hard not to like it. Was here for a basketball tournament and we went here for food. Delicious, large portions. Schwarma is excellent, the sesame chicken poppers are great – just had to eat half the laffa sandwich and save the rest. It’s two meals in one.

Best shwarma outside of Israel! Love it! I can’t wait to be back to the heights to grab some delicious shwarma salad. 🙂

I’m not Jewish but I was recommended to go there with some Orthodox Jewish friends and the place impressed me with the tastiness and freshness of the meats. I’d totally go there again!

Hands down the best falafel pitas ever. I’ve been here numerous times already. Made fresh, tons of veggies to choose from, and all different kinds of sauces that you can put on it. You can get white or whole wheat pita. Veggies include- cucumber-tomato mix, beets, carrots, lettuce, quinoa, onions, eggplant, corn mix, etc. You can have hummus and fries inside your pita or not. Sauces include- tahini, garlic, BBQ, mango, sweet chili, etc. I have also tried their teriyaki chicken and chicken shawarma which are good too. The price is average, and one pita is huge. Its a casual place for eat in or take out.

Service is alright nothing to brag about. Food is actually good when is fresh, but the last time I had a salad it was stale making it the food inconsistent. As far a price it could be more affordable.

Some of the best shawarma I’ve had. The sides and hommas are delicious – and the guy behind the counter is very friendly (and witty). The meals are enough for 2 people to share. If it weren’t such a schlep from my office I’d eat there every day (except Friday when it’s closed in observance of the Sabbath).

Decent food , but this is Arab Palestinian / Syrian food far from Israeli food . But people were very nice . Will be back soon

My go to spot! Best kosher meat place in the area. they’re cheap, delicious, fast food. They are usually open til 2am- best stop for munchies or when you want a hot meal. If you like spicy get zaidys, their garlic mayo is killer! And brisket is crazy good! Laffas are worth the few extra bucks instead of a pita. The fries are yum especially when well done- super crispy! The chulent and chicken soup are the best if you are craving some homey and hearty food.

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Golan Heights – 11 Photos & 56 Reviews – Middle Eastern …

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December 18, 2016   Posted in: Golan Heights  Comments Closed

Hyundai profiting from Israel’s colonization of Golan Heights …

Ryan Rodrick Beiler Rights and Accountability 14 December 2016

Hyundai equipment is used to destroy a home in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina in January 2014.

In September, Israeli forces demolished the home of Bassam Ibrahim. What made his case different from the more than 48,000 such demolitions in territory Israel has occupied since 1967 is that Ibrahim is not Palestinian. He is Syrian.

Ibrahims home in the town of Majdal Shams was the first demolition in the Golan Heights since Israel occupied the Syrian territory following its capture in 1967.

The Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits the destruction of property by an occupying power except in the case of military necessity.

Equipment manufactured by Hyundai Heavy Industries was used to carry out the demolition.

Headquartered in South Korea, Hyundai is one of the top five heavy equipment manufacturers worldwide. It is not the first time its equipment has been used in Israeli violations of international law.

Under pressure from Palestine Peace and Solidarity, a Korean solidarity group, the company pledged in 2013 to cease dealing with its Israeli distributor, Automotive Equipment Group, stating that its excavators were intended for the private sector, but not for military purposes.

But one year later, Palestine Peace and Solidarity confirmed that Hyundai had resumed distribution through another Israeli company, EFCO, and continued to profit from the use of its machinery in house demolitions and other violations of international law.

The research group Who Profits reports that Hyundai machinery has also been used in the construction and expansion of Israeli settlements, making the companys profits in the region contingent upon land grab, forced displacement and at times even settler or state violence.

The demolition of Bassam Ibrahims home in the Golan followed a pattern similar to those in the occupied West Bank.

According to Al-Marsad, a human rights group in the Golan, hundreds of Israeli police and special forces surrounded the home as it was destroyed on the pretext that it was built without a permit.

Dozens more Syrian-owned homes in the territory have also received demolition orders.

More than 140,000 Syrians lived in the Golan Heights, approximately 1,860 square kilometers, before its capture in 1967. Most were forcibly transferred outside the territory, and only 20,000 remain today.

Discriminatory Israeli policies make it virtually impossible for residents to obtain permits to build or improve their homes. Many have no choice but to build without them.

Syrian communities in the Golan are also being squeezed by Israels expansion of Hermon National Park. Authorities have moved to appropriate 20,000 acres of land used by Majdal Shams and other communities for agriculture and housing.

This expansion would surround these communities to the north and west. Already hemmed in to the east by the militarized boundary with the rest of Syria, this would only leave land in the south for urban expansion. That land is used for agriculture, a main source of livelihood for the local Syrian population, according to al-Marsad.

The number of Jewish settlers in the Golan is now roughly equal to that of the Syrian population.

In October, Israel approved the construction of 1,600 new housing units in Katzrin, the largest settlement in the Golan. It was built on the land of the Syrian villages Qasrin, Shqef and Sanawber, which were depopulated by Israeli forces in 1967.

Israel has capitalized on the ongoing conflict in Syria to seek international recognition of its annexation of the Golan Heights.

These efforts were rebuffed by the UN Security Council, which in April reaffirmed Resolution 497 declaring that Israels annexation of the Golan was null and void and without international legal effect.

Yet since that declaration was made in 1981, Israel has tightened its grip through settlement enterprises such as the Golan Heights Winery and Eden Springs mineral water which exploit the territorys natural resources.

Afek, a subsidiary of US-based Genie Energy, is drilling for oil in the Golan.

Afeks president, Effie Eitam, is a settler living in the Golan Heights and a former general in Israels military.

Genies advisory board includes former US Vice President Dick Cheney, media mogul Rupert Murdoch, as well as former Clinton administration officials: treasury secretary Larry Summers, UN ambassador Bill Richardson and CIA director James Woolsey.

Are also involved in demolitions of Palestinian property.

darn , I was really looking forward to driving a new I 40 but having learned this I could hardly enjoy driving around in a vehicle that was made by a company involved in the oppression of millions of Palestinians.

Looks as if I will have to go back to kicking tires for another while.

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December 14, 2016   Posted in: Golan Heights  Comments Closed

Articles: Israel’s Golan Heights Policies and the Future of …

The Azerbaijani leadership and its Baku-controlled media have remained completely silent on multiple declarations, beginning this past April, regarding the state of Israel’s intent to officially annex the Golan Heights and surrounding areas. Baku should be deeply concerned because the arguments Israel uses to support such annexation pale in contrast with those already in place on the ground in Nagorno-Karabakh, the Armenian-inhabited region that lies between the Republics of Armenia and Azerbaijan.

The Golan Heights

Israel claims Greater Golan was part of ancient Israel, repeats refrains of we will never give it bac, the world must get used to the new reality, and who do we give it back to? None of these hold water in diplomatic circles. However, the reality is that the Golan Heights was captured from Syria in the aftermath of the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, and its inhabitants and settlers are subject to Israeli civil and military laws; yet, most importantly, it has remained relatively peaceful.

Negotiations, reported as secret, have taken place between Syria and Israel over the status of the Golan Heights, the latest being sometime in 2010. Negotiations were cut off when Syria plunged into civil war. Israel was willing to return the Golan Heights to Syria in exchange for specific security guarantees, including a demonstration that the Assad government would stop acting as an Iranian proxy. This is significant because it demonstrates that Israel captured Golan, kept it under its jurisdiction, and would indeed return it for strategic security reasons. It is unknown what the fate of its Jewish population will be; perhaps they would return to Israel. Conversely today, a full annexation of Golan, Israel argues, also secures its northeastern border.

Nagorno-Karabakh

The region of Nagorno-Karabakh was arbitrarily placed under Azerbaijani jurisdiction by Stalin in 1921 after it was fought over both politically and militarily during and after WWI. The local population, which had always been majority Armenian by a wide margin, resisted this decision. Just prior to the breakup of the Soviet Union, in December of 1991, the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region (or Oblast, officially designated as such in mid-1923) overwhelmingly voted in favor of not remaining under Azerbaijani jurisdiction in full legal compliance with Soviet law. After declaring independence and fighting a war imposed by Azerbaijan, a truce was negotiated in May 1994. Nagorno-Karabakh has conducted its own affairs ever since then, although aided by the Republic of Armenia. Since 1994, border areas between Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan have witnessed persistent periodic shelling, sniper fire, and cross-border attacks.

Negotiations have been ongoing between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Armenia represents the interests of Nagorno-Karabakh because Baku does not recognize the existence of Nagorno-Karabakh as a political entity. Negotiations have been in a permanent stalemate because the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh claim the right of self-determination and Azerbaijan claims inviolability of its international borders.

Land for Peace

The land offered in the case of Nagorno-Karabakh was all but two western areas that connect Nagorno-Karabakh directly with Armenia, releasing the remaining eastern and southern areas to Azerbaijan if the latter recognized the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh. The result would be a people having achieved self-determination.

Historical or biblical arguments do not constitute a legally recognized basis for land claims. Reparatory demands or indigenous self-determination are better arguments, although not sufficient by themselves to unilaterally constitute a change in international political status. Reparatory claims were used to redraw boundaries in post-WWII Europe. Factors in favor of indigenous self-determination are more associated with big power interests. For example, the dismemberment of the Yugoslav Federation eventually resulted in the separation of Kosovo from Serbian jurisdiction, which was designated its own state. Kosovo has only partial international recognition and its legitimacy is not recognized by Serbia, although Serbia has started a process of normalization.

However, today is 2016 and much has changed in the five years since Israel and Syria ended their Golan negotiations. If Israel is successful in officially incorporating the Golan Heights, it would create a precedent for those peoples and regions that are in a state of uncertainty, under pressure from prevailing political forces. Israel’s public relations campaign for a full Golan annexation acceptance is sure to draw attention.

This should surely worry the authorities in Baku who have thus far remained silent. Baku is silent because Israel purchases about half its crude oil supply from Azerbaijan, and Azerbaijan has purchased just under $2B worth of Israeli high technology drones, support infrastructure, and limited manufacturing licensing of additional technologies. This creates a dilemma for official Baku, who call the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh separatists, or worse, while selling crude oil to Israel, which seemingly has less of an international legal basis for the incorporation of the Golan Heights than does Nagorno-Karabakh for its self-determination. During Nagorno-Karabakh negotiations, Azerbaijan might continue to demand jurisdiction over the entire region, but Armenia would note the precedent set in the annexation of the Golan Heights a clear violability of established borders (Bakus central argument) one that Baku never protested.

The accompanied chart provides a relative comparison of arguments used and issues raised with respect to the self-determination of Nagorno-Karabakh and the Israeli annexation of the Golan Heights. The chart is not intended to be exhaustive. The “Advantage” column entries are based on how existing realities contribute to the “Argument” or “Issue. A None means one case has no particular advantage over the other. While not a strict mathematical endeavor, the case of Nagorno-Karabakh appears stronger than that of an official Israeli annexation of the Golan Heights and surrounding lands.

Argument or Issue

Golan Heights (GH)

Nagorno-Karabakh (NK)

Advantage

1

Historical Claim 1

Early as 953 BCE, land of Israel 1

Recently discovered 7000 year old tooth has exact DNA match with todays Armenians of NK 2

NK

2

Historical Claim 2 (currently known)

At least 25 synagogues excavated 1

9+ Forts/Castles 3, 30 Churches/Monasteries 4

NK

3

Population

~50K 5,5.1

~147 (2013) 6

NK

4

Focus population

~20k Jewish 5,5.1

~147K Armenian 6

NK

5

Land area

~1200 15

~4457 7

N/A

6

Population/sq km

42 (total) 21 (Jewish)

34 Armenian

GH

7

Continuous ethnic plurality, last thousand plus years

Jewish, Arab, then Druze (Jewish re-settlement post 1967)

Armenian

NK

8

Not included in expected territory

Not part of 1923 British Palestine Mandate 1

Soviets rescinded Armenian jurisdiction, ordered Azerbaijani jurisdiction over NK in 1921 7

NK

9

Referendum on regions disposition

No. GH was occupied militarily from the 1967 war

Yes. Dec 1991: overwhelmingly in favor of independence from Azerbaijan. Vote was in accordance with USSR law. War fought until May 1994 7.1

NK

10

Israeli or Armenian law extended into regions

Yes. 1981 Knesset enacted the Golan Heights Law extending Israels civil law, jurisdiction and administration8

No. NK has its own laws and constitution 7.1

NK

11

UN resolutions regarding activity

UNSC Res. 497: dismissed Israel’s control of the Golan Heights as illegitimate 9

UNSC Res. 822: withdrawal of local occupying forces from Kelbajar 10

UNSC Res. 853: …calls on withdrawal of local Armenian troops from Agdam 11

UNSC Res. 874: …to implement Security Council resolutions 822 (1993) and 853 (1993)…12

UNSC Res. 884: …Condemns the recent violations of the cease-fire established between the parties … calls upon the Gov’t of Armenia to use its influence to achieve compliance by NagornoKarabakhArmenians13

NK

12

International Recognition

None

(Non-state) New South Wales, Basque Parliament, various US states

NK

13

Unilateral associated state recognition

Israel: Yes, stated its annexation intention on April 2016 14,15,16,17,18,19,20,21,22

Armenia: No. NK declared independence September 2, 19916

NK

14

Declaring international community recognize new reality

Israel regarding Golan in 201614

Armenia in support of NK

None

15

Abandon fixation with artificial borders drawn a century ago

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Articles: Israel’s Golan Heights Policies and the Future of …

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December 8, 2016   Posted in: Golan Heights  Comments Closed

Israeli forces kill 4 Islamic State allies in Golan Heights …

JERUSALEM Israeli forces engaged in a brief but deadly fight Sunday against Syrian militiamen allied with the Islamic State, killing four militants in the fraught borderlands of the Golan Heights.

It was the first substantial fight between Israeli soldiers and ISIS affiliates in the long-running Syrian war, said Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, an Israel military spokesman. No Israelis were injured.

Although there have been dozens of cases of errant and intentional artillery, mortar and small-arms fire from Syria toward Israeli-controlled territory in the occupied Golan Heights, this exchange involved the group known as the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade, whose leaders publicly pledged their allegiance to Islamic State in 2014.

About 9 a.m. local time, a reconnaissance unit from Israels Golani Brigade was patrolling along the cease-fire line, the military said, outside the Israeli-built fence. The Israeli troops were confronted by the Syrian militants, who deployed small arms and mortars. The Israelis responded, according to the military spokesman.

The Israeli air force spotted a vehicle armed with a heavy machine gun and destroyed it with a rocket, killing four occupants, Israel said.

Israel has pledged to stay out of the Syrian conflict but has also vowed that it will respond to any threats made against Israelis in the Golan Heights.

Earlier this year, the State Department designated the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade a global terrorist entity. The group is composed of local clans in southern Syria. Israeli military intelligence officers say there are few, if any, outsiders or foreign fighters in its ranks.

The Yarmouk brigade was formed in 2012 and has staged attacks throughout southern Syria, often along the Israeli and Jordanian borders, the State Department said.

In 2013, the group abducted 25 Filipino U.N. peacekeepers who patrol the disputed border between Israel and Syria in the Golan Heights. The peacekeepers were eventually released.

The group has fought both alongside and against the rebels in the Nusra Front. Earlier this year, the militants changed the name of their brigade and allied with another group also affiliated with ISIS.

Nitzan Nuriel, former director of the counterterrorism bureau at the prime ministers office, said he did not think the attack against the Israeli soldiers represents a new ISIS-directed offensive against Israel.

I think the decision to open fire against our soldiers was a local decision, he said. It was not something ordered by a high command.

Nuriel said Israels response was appropriate and repeated the message, Dont mess with us.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commended the troops. “We are prepared against any enemy that threatens us on our northern border, he said.

Israel essentially annexed the Golan Heights in 1981 when it extended Israeli civil law vs. military rule to the territory it seized from Syria during the 1967 Six-Day War.

The international community, including the United States, has never recognized Israels annexation of the heights and views the area as Syrian territory occupied by Israel.

In April, Netanyahu declared that Israel will retain forever full control of the mountainous plateau and will never return the strategic highlands to neighboring Syria.

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November 27, 2016   Posted in: Golan Heights  Comments Closed

Golan Heights Winery – Wikipedia

The Golan Heights Winery (Hebrew: ) is an Israeli winery located in Katzrin, built on the site of an agricultural village from the Mishnaic period in the Golan Heights. It is Israel’s third largest winery.[2] In 2012, Golan Heights Winery was named New World Winery of the Year by Wine Enthusiast Magazine.[3]

The Golan Heights Winery is jointly owned by eight Israeli settlementsmoshavim and kibbutzim, which also supply the grapes. Its first vintage was released in 1984. Production in 2008 reached 6 million bottles a year, 30% of which was exported.[4]

The Golan Heights winery markets brands under the Golan, Yarden and Gamla labels and is the parent company of Galilee’s Galil Mountain Winery. Golan sources its grapes from sixteen vineyards in the Golan Heights and one vineyard in the Upper Galilee. The chief winemaker is Napa native Victor Schoenfeld.[5]

The winery employs 110 people and incorporates sophisticated technology using pneumatic membrane presses, must chiller and computer-controlled cooling of stainless steel tanks. The winery also has an elaborate “experimental winery” for research and quality control of new wines and improvement of existing lines.[6]

Traditional vinification techniques include barrel-fermented Chardonnay, Methode traditionelle sparkling wines, carbonic maceration for light reds and maturation in French and American oak barrels for premium red and white wines.[6]

The Golan Heights Winery is credited with starting the “quality revolution” in Israeli wine, creating a brand identity for the country’s vintages, spurring the creation of new wineries and motivating existing wineries to improve the quality of their wines. Michal Neeman, director of the Israel Export & International Cooperation Institute’s food and beverage division, describes the role of the winery as crucial: “Everyone agrees that they were the first winery to produce excellent wine. Then came the boutique wineries, then the medium-sized, and then the large ones. There were a lot of other factors as well, but when you pinpoint the revolution, it started at Golan Heights.”[1]

In partnership with Entav of France, the winery is developing disease-resistant clones and the worlds first insect-free mother block and nursery.[7]

A number of Golan Heights wines were marketed by Systembolaget, Sweden’s state-owned monopoly alcohol retailer, as “Made in Israel” on shelves and in the sales catalogue. Following customer complaints and consultation with Sweden’s foreign ministry, Systembolaget changed the shelf labelling to read, “Made in Israeli-occupied Syrian territories.”[8] However this prompted complaints from Annelie Enochson and officials in Israel.[8][9] Systembolaget’s solution was to remove all reference to the product’s country of origin on shelves and in catalogues, classifying the wine as of “other origins.”[10]

The winery has won worldwide acclaim and awards at the most prestigious festivals, including wine shows in France.[11] Golan Heights Winery was named Best Foreign Winery at the Prague Trophy 2008 international wine competition. At a ceremony on January 16, 2009, the winery received the award after winning seven medals at the competition.[12] In 2011, Golan Heights Winery won the Gran Vinitaly Special Award as the best wine producer at the 19th International Vinitaly Wine Competition in Italy. The winery earned two Grand Gold Medals for its 2009 Yarden Chardonnay Odem Organic Vineyard and its 2008 Yarden HeightsWine.[13] Its 2004 Yarden Cabernet Sauvignon was the first wine from Israel to be listed on the Wine Spectator Top 100.

See more here:
Golan Heights Winery – Wikipedia

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November 17, 2016   Posted in: Golan Heights  Comments Closed

Tuesday February 7, 2017 – Israel Hayom

Tuesday February 7, 2017 Israel Hayom This about-face should be accompanied by expansive construction and the historical step of annexation — the application of Israeli law over the Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria, as we did in Jerusalem and the Golan Heights . This is necessary to … and more »

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February 7, 2017   Posted in: Golan Heights  Comments Closed

What About The Golan Heights? | Scribd

We have finally encountered the 35th anniversary of the Israeli Knessets annexation of the Golan Heights, which took place on 14 December 1981. There is also been the issue following the inclinations of Zionist leaders, who believe that with the current situation in Syria, the international community might finally recognise Israels annexation of the Golan Heights. The former secretary of Benjamin Netanyahu, Zvi Hauser, is the most prominent advocate of this outcome. Hauser wrote an article a few days ago titled From Annexation to Recognition in which he wrote that in light of the recent US elections, the Israelis might receive a financial deposit that would ensure the maintenance of Israels control over the Golan Heights. Hauser also wrote that this new found American support for Israels annexation of the Golan Heights would serve as a form of compensation after the nuclear deal with Tehran. Hauser touched upon Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Liebermans request for the renewal of a collateral letter sent by former US President George Bush to the former Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, in 2004. The letter ensured the US support for the preservation of major settlement blocks in the US in the event of a major peace settlement with the Palestinians. A similar letter was sent by former US President Gerald Ford to Yitzhak Rabin in 1975, regarding the Golan Heights and the US support for the plateau to remain under Israeli control until peace is achieved. The above-mentioned letter was sent before the formalisation law; however, the United Nations and the international community have not officially recognised the annexation of the Golan Heights. They have both treated the Golan Heights as occupied Syrian territory. In fact, the US has previously attempted to moderate negotiations between Benjamin Netanayhu during his first tenure (1996-1999) and former Syrian President Hafez Al-Assad, with regards to the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Golan Heights. American businessman and philanthropist, Ron Lauder, served as a mediator at the time. In 2011, Netanyahu conducted indirect talks with Bashar Al-Assad via American mediation. The two American figures overseeing these talks claimed that Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to a full withdrawal from the Golan Heights in exchange for peace with Syria and an end to the peace agreement between Syria, Iran and Hezbollah. Following Netanyahu first time in office, there was a second round of negotiations in 1999-2000, in which Uri Sagi was appointed the president of the Israeli coalition. At that time, Sagi made a comments saying: We are very close to a peace deal, even more than the public knows. He confirmed that there was a draft of an agreement that touched upon all points including borders, water ad security coordination. Sagi alleges that he met with two Syrian officials under American mediation. The goal of these meetings was to reach a peace agreement and it was confirmed that more than 80 per cent of the issues in question for both sides had been agreed upon. In response to the question as to why there has yet to be an official peace agreement with Syria, despite all of these claims, Sagi responded: Each side attempted to accuse the other side and I believe that Israel has a large part to play in all of this. He insists that the negotiations were not halted because of a dispute over the north-east of lake Tiberias, for there were solutions to consider; however, we had to convince the public and our leaders did not try to do this or they would have succeeded. Sagi ultimately felt that a Syria under Assad family rule would have secured the northern border. Regardless of whether or not an agreement would have been terminated with Iran as far as Syria is concerned, there could have at least been an indirect channel of negotiation between Israel and Tehran. Therefore, Syrias connection would have proved useful. What is the difference, then, between what was then and what is the case now? The difference is not that great: In the past, Israel would have considered and would have been prepared to return to the Golan Heights to Syria and today, it is insisting on gaining international recognition for its annexation of the territory. This factor is related to which party can ensure the safety and the security of borders and what lies behind them. Translated from Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, 21 December 2016.

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December 22, 2016   Posted in: Golan Heights  Comments Closed

Ynetnews Opinion – Golan Heights: From annexation to recognition

Wednesday marked 35 years since the enactment of the Golan Heights Law, which applied Israeli law to the Golan Heights and essentially annexed the Golan to the State of Israel. Since the law was enacted, the face of the Middle East has changed beyond recognition. The Syrian state has collapsed, and at the same time there appears to be a strategic change in the geopolitical perception of the United States in terms of the Middle East. IDF soldiers in the Golan Heights (Photo: EPA) The Golan is the most mature place for an attempt to achieve a change in the rules of the game which we have known for the past 50 years. In the Golan Heights, there is no component of controlling another people. Syria, if it even continues to exist as one state, will never be the same. The human rights discourse is irrelevant for the Golan. In a reality in which 25,000 of its Druze residents are entitled to citizenship in the only democracy in the Middle East, the Syrian alternative has never seemed more delusional to them. All this should lead to a change in the anachronistic international convention that the border between Syria and Israel should be along the shores of the Sea of Galilee. The groundlessness of this convention is being proved on a daily basis in light of the incomprehensible bloodshed which has been taking place in Iraq and Syria, reaching the Golan Heights, for half a decade now. A coordination of expectations process should be held with the international community, and first and foremost with the new American administration and with the US Congress, as to the alternatives of controlling the area between the edges of Quneitra and the Sea of Galilee, in an overall context of stabilizing the region: Neither the Islamic States Islamic Caliphate nor the jihadists of Jabhat al-Nusra and al-Qaeda or an Iran-Hezbollah-Assad foothold in the Sea of Galilee will allow the stabilization and recovery of the region. There is no other horizon in the Middle East apart from the Israeli horizon. The election of Donald Trump as the US president, who enjoys a majority in both Houses of Congress, creates a concrete opportunity for another discussion on the Israeli compensation in light of the nuclear agreement with Iran. It will be a historical failure if Israel settles merely for tactical needs of advanced means of warfare as a response to the agreement. The balancing formula vis–vis the Iranian achievement (and the Assad murderousness) should include, alongside a maximum restriction of the Iranian nuclearization danger, an curbing Irans conventional aggression potential and preventing the creation of a Tehran-Ein Gev land route, through a final international rejection of the Iranian-Assad ambition to retake control of the Golan Heights, which is less than 1 percent of the territory of what used to be Syria. The apparent rare ability of the new American administration to hold a constructive discussion with Russia about the Middle East, as well as Bashar Assads special situation and his complete dependence on Russia, could serve the Israeli interest in the Golan Heights. We should advance a coordination of interests between the US, Russia and Israel regarding an arrangement for the day after the war in Syria and work in every way to include Israels needs in the discourse between the world powers on the future of Syria and the Assad regime. The minimum required strategic guarantee is a presidential commitment and legislation in the American Congress, which will secure the Israeli control of the Golan Heights and end the discussion of the issue. This is not a groundless idea. In 1975, President Gerald Ford gave a written presidential commitment to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, which included an American acknowledgement of the Israeli need to remain in the Golan Heights even at times of peace. Zvi Hauser is a former cabinet secretary.

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December 18, 2016   Posted in: Golan Heights  Comments Closed

Al-Marsad | Arab Human Rights Centre in Golan Heights …

Britain, Netherlands and Ireland have condemned ongoing violations of international law by Israel in the Occupied Syrian Golan that include illegal settlement expansion, natural resource exploitation, land appropriation and home… Read more Al-Marsad has written to the EU, European governments and the Permanent Members of the UN Security Council regarding the approval last month by the Israeli government to expand the largest… Read more Al-Marsad condemns plans by the Israeli government to build 1600 homes in the illegal Israeli settlement of Katzrin in the Occupied Syrian Golan. According to reports yesterday, the Israeli Finance… Read more Al-Marsad and theDemocratic Progress Institute (DPI) publish a new report examining the Syrian refugee crisis from a conflict-resolution and human rights perspective, focusing on the situation in Lebanon, Turkey, and… Read more For more than 5 years, Syria has been suffering a terrible conflict that has caused death and destruction, resulting in gross international law violations, in a seemingly endless and indescribable… Read more

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December 18, 2016   Posted in: Golan Heights  Comments Closed

Golan Heights – 11 Photos & 56 Reviews – Middle Eastern …

56 Amazing food!!!! I love this place. It’s fresh, clean, and the food is so freakin good!!!! Absolutely delicious! The laffa is superb. The lamb bacon is the best that I’ve ever had and the potatoes latkes….there are no words to describe. The eggplant is my favorite and the falafel are the best in the city. Yeshiva University! You are sooooo lucky to have Golan Heights right across the street! The food was okay, but the staff is very rude to it’s customers. I didn’t feel like they wanted me there and I felt pressured to leave the restaurant. I ordered a shawarma and it was a 3/10 in my rating scale. The meat wasn’t very good quality and the vegetables that I added were masking the taste of the food and left my mouth numb for an hour for some reason. I love Israeli food but this is one place I won’t be returning to. I’ll go to some place downtown or in Brooklyn. Always loved the food here but the way I was treated by person behind the register is just so unprofessional and was so shocking. I called them asking if I can make an order for pickup on the phone since I know parking is very difficult in their area. When I told him what I wanted to order he said that food is ready and doesn’t need to be prepared so it’s not worth his time for me to order it on the phone and immediately hung up on me. I called back stating that I eat there at least once a week and that I would pay over the phone since I’m just trying to avoid getting a parking ticket since there’s no parking. In typical kosher service he told me to go somewhere else. Food is good but you can treat customers like that. Solid shawarma place in the heights. Nothing else like it in the surrounding neighborhood. Huge portions, delicious food. Ordered a schwarma in a laffa. The food was fine. The restaurant itself looks disgusting. It is catering to the YU college crowd, so I am sure they are not very discriminating. The tables and floor are old and dirty. There are tons of full black garbage bags and old raincoats near the front door. The bathroom is dingy and old. This place needs a top-to-bottom upgrade. Food was a 4. Restaurant itself is a 1. The best shawarma outside of Israel! Quick and friendly service, and they fill up the pita for you, not like other places that let you just do it yourself… Food tastes fresh and they have a great selection of salads. Excellent fare here Recommend the shnitzel sandwich, especially. This is now my favorite falafel place, displacing Cinderella and The Hummus Place. We tried this Israeli restaurant yesterday in search of Mediterranean food. Restaurant looks very much run down in appearance. Restroom was not clean. But oh dear God, food was delicious. We ordered kufta, flafel, chetzi chetzi and beef shish. And each bit of each dish tasted incredible even though the dishes were very simple in their looks. Beef could have been cooked somewhat more. It is a self-service place. They prepare food rather fast. Seemed a very busy take out place when we visited. A very good chicken shawarma sandwich ($8-9) with fries inside and a diverse selection of condiments including cabbage, carrots, pickles, wine sauce, hot sauce, green sauce, etc. Great service and a fine place for a quick bite. The food is pretty good.. No other good kosher options really in the heights. This is the best you’ll get. The prices just got higher over the summer, which isn’t smart especially if you are catering to Jewish college student and Rabbis. I switch off between a couple different things when I go there, but I just found out that one of the items was just price raised about $3 plus tax.. Which is in my opinion stupid because this item is one of the most popular items on the menu. Granted it does come with a soda/water. But it is not a good idea. I’ve been there few times , I can assure that they’ve one of the best shawarma in Manhattan , I tried it in too many restaurants ( Turkish …etc ) but theirs is so delicious and amazing , I can’t wait to go back there , thanks for this great food . Hard not to like it. Was here for a basketball tournament and we went here for food. Delicious, large portions. Schwarma is excellent, the sesame chicken poppers are great – just had to eat half the laffa sandwich and save the rest. It’s two meals in one. Best shwarma outside of Israel! Love it! I can’t wait to be back to the heights to grab some delicious shwarma salad. 🙂 I’m not Jewish but I was recommended to go there with some Orthodox Jewish friends and the place impressed me with the tastiness and freshness of the meats. I’d totally go there again! Hands down the best falafel pitas ever. I’ve been here numerous times already. Made fresh, tons of veggies to choose from, and all different kinds of sauces that you can put on it. You can get white or whole wheat pita. Veggies include- cucumber-tomato mix, beets, carrots, lettuce, quinoa, onions, eggplant, corn mix, etc. You can have hummus and fries inside your pita or not. Sauces include- tahini, garlic, BBQ, mango, sweet chili, etc. I have also tried their teriyaki chicken and chicken shawarma which are good too. The price is average, and one pita is huge. Its a casual place for eat in or take out. Service is alright nothing to brag about. Food is actually good when is fresh, but the last time I had a salad it was stale making it the food inconsistent. As far a price it could be more affordable. Some of the best shawarma I’ve had. The sides and hommas are delicious – and the guy behind the counter is very friendly (and witty). The meals are enough for 2 people to share. If it weren’t such a schlep from my office I’d eat there every day (except Friday when it’s closed in observance of the Sabbath). Decent food , but this is Arab Palestinian / Syrian food far from Israeli food . But people were very nice . Will be back soon My go to spot! Best kosher meat place in the area. they’re cheap, delicious, fast food. They are usually open til 2am- best stop for munchies or when you want a hot meal. If you like spicy get zaidys, their garlic mayo is killer! And brisket is crazy good! Laffas are worth the few extra bucks instead of a pita. The fries are yum especially when well done- super crispy! The chulent and chicken soup are the best if you are craving some homey and hearty food.

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December 18, 2016   Posted in: Golan Heights  Comments Closed

Hyundai profiting from Israel’s colonization of Golan Heights …

Ryan Rodrick Beiler Rights and Accountability 14 December 2016 Hyundai equipment is used to destroy a home in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina in January 2014. In September, Israeli forces demolished the home of Bassam Ibrahim. What made his case different from the more than 48,000 such demolitions in territory Israel has occupied since 1967 is that Ibrahim is not Palestinian. He is Syrian. Ibrahims home in the town of Majdal Shams was the first demolition in the Golan Heights since Israel occupied the Syrian territory following its capture in 1967. The Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits the destruction of property by an occupying power except in the case of military necessity. Equipment manufactured by Hyundai Heavy Industries was used to carry out the demolition. Headquartered in South Korea, Hyundai is one of the top five heavy equipment manufacturers worldwide. It is not the first time its equipment has been used in Israeli violations of international law. Under pressure from Palestine Peace and Solidarity, a Korean solidarity group, the company pledged in 2013 to cease dealing with its Israeli distributor, Automotive Equipment Group, stating that its excavators were intended for the private sector, but not for military purposes. But one year later, Palestine Peace and Solidarity confirmed that Hyundai had resumed distribution through another Israeli company, EFCO, and continued to profit from the use of its machinery in house demolitions and other violations of international law. The research group Who Profits reports that Hyundai machinery has also been used in the construction and expansion of Israeli settlements, making the companys profits in the region contingent upon land grab, forced displacement and at times even settler or state violence. The demolition of Bassam Ibrahims home in the Golan followed a pattern similar to those in the occupied West Bank. According to Al-Marsad, a human rights group in the Golan, hundreds of Israeli police and special forces surrounded the home as it was destroyed on the pretext that it was built without a permit. Dozens more Syrian-owned homes in the territory have also received demolition orders. More than 140,000 Syrians lived in the Golan Heights, approximately 1,860 square kilometers, before its capture in 1967. Most were forcibly transferred outside the territory, and only 20,000 remain today. Discriminatory Israeli policies make it virtually impossible for residents to obtain permits to build or improve their homes. Many have no choice but to build without them. Syrian communities in the Golan are also being squeezed by Israels expansion of Hermon National Park. Authorities have moved to appropriate 20,000 acres of land used by Majdal Shams and other communities for agriculture and housing. This expansion would surround these communities to the north and west. Already hemmed in to the east by the militarized boundary with the rest of Syria, this would only leave land in the south for urban expansion. That land is used for agriculture, a main source of livelihood for the local Syrian population, according to al-Marsad. The number of Jewish settlers in the Golan is now roughly equal to that of the Syrian population. In October, Israel approved the construction of 1,600 new housing units in Katzrin, the largest settlement in the Golan. It was built on the land of the Syrian villages Qasrin, Shqef and Sanawber, which were depopulated by Israeli forces in 1967. Israel has capitalized on the ongoing conflict in Syria to seek international recognition of its annexation of the Golan Heights. These efforts were rebuffed by the UN Security Council, which in April reaffirmed Resolution 497 declaring that Israels annexation of the Golan was null and void and without international legal effect. Yet since that declaration was made in 1981, Israel has tightened its grip through settlement enterprises such as the Golan Heights Winery and Eden Springs mineral water which exploit the territorys natural resources. Afek, a subsidiary of US-based Genie Energy, is drilling for oil in the Golan. Afeks president, Effie Eitam, is a settler living in the Golan Heights and a former general in Israels military. Genies advisory board includes former US Vice President Dick Cheney, media mogul Rupert Murdoch, as well as former Clinton administration officials: treasury secretary Larry Summers, UN ambassador Bill Richardson and CIA director James Woolsey. Are also involved in demolitions of Palestinian property. darn , I was really looking forward to driving a new I 40 but having learned this I could hardly enjoy driving around in a vehicle that was made by a company involved in the oppression of millions of Palestinians. Looks as if I will have to go back to kicking tires for another while.

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December 14, 2016   Posted in: Golan Heights  Comments Closed

Articles: Israel’s Golan Heights Policies and the Future of …

The Azerbaijani leadership and its Baku-controlled media have remained completely silent on multiple declarations, beginning this past April, regarding the state of Israel’s intent to officially annex the Golan Heights and surrounding areas. Baku should be deeply concerned because the arguments Israel uses to support such annexation pale in contrast with those already in place on the ground in Nagorno-Karabakh, the Armenian-inhabited region that lies between the Republics of Armenia and Azerbaijan. The Golan Heights Israel claims Greater Golan was part of ancient Israel, repeats refrains of we will never give it bac, the world must get used to the new reality, and who do we give it back to? None of these hold water in diplomatic circles. However, the reality is that the Golan Heights was captured from Syria in the aftermath of the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, and its inhabitants and settlers are subject to Israeli civil and military laws; yet, most importantly, it has remained relatively peaceful. Negotiations, reported as secret, have taken place between Syria and Israel over the status of the Golan Heights, the latest being sometime in 2010. Negotiations were cut off when Syria plunged into civil war. Israel was willing to return the Golan Heights to Syria in exchange for specific security guarantees, including a demonstration that the Assad government would stop acting as an Iranian proxy. This is significant because it demonstrates that Israel captured Golan, kept it under its jurisdiction, and would indeed return it for strategic security reasons. It is unknown what the fate of its Jewish population will be; perhaps they would return to Israel. Conversely today, a full annexation of Golan, Israel argues, also secures its northeastern border. Nagorno-Karabakh The region of Nagorno-Karabakh was arbitrarily placed under Azerbaijani jurisdiction by Stalin in 1921 after it was fought over both politically and militarily during and after WWI. The local population, which had always been majority Armenian by a wide margin, resisted this decision. Just prior to the breakup of the Soviet Union, in December of 1991, the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region (or Oblast, officially designated as such in mid-1923) overwhelmingly voted in favor of not remaining under Azerbaijani jurisdiction in full legal compliance with Soviet law. After declaring independence and fighting a war imposed by Azerbaijan, a truce was negotiated in May 1994. Nagorno-Karabakh has conducted its own affairs ever since then, although aided by the Republic of Armenia. Since 1994, border areas between Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan have witnessed persistent periodic shelling, sniper fire, and cross-border attacks. Negotiations have been ongoing between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Armenia represents the interests of Nagorno-Karabakh because Baku does not recognize the existence of Nagorno-Karabakh as a political entity. Negotiations have been in a permanent stalemate because the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh claim the right of self-determination and Azerbaijan claims inviolability of its international borders. Land for Peace The land offered in the case of Nagorno-Karabakh was all but two western areas that connect Nagorno-Karabakh directly with Armenia, releasing the remaining eastern and southern areas to Azerbaijan if the latter recognized the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh. The result would be a people having achieved self-determination. Historical or biblical arguments do not constitute a legally recognized basis for land claims. Reparatory demands or indigenous self-determination are better arguments, although not sufficient by themselves to unilaterally constitute a change in international political status. Reparatory claims were used to redraw boundaries in post-WWII Europe. Factors in favor of indigenous self-determination are more associated with big power interests. For example, the dismemberment of the Yugoslav Federation eventually resulted in the separation of Kosovo from Serbian jurisdiction, which was designated its own state. Kosovo has only partial international recognition and its legitimacy is not recognized by Serbia, although Serbia has started a process of normalization. However, today is 2016 and much has changed in the five years since Israel and Syria ended their Golan negotiations. If Israel is successful in officially incorporating the Golan Heights, it would create a precedent for those peoples and regions that are in a state of uncertainty, under pressure from prevailing political forces. Israel’s public relations campaign for a full Golan annexation acceptance is sure to draw attention. This should surely worry the authorities in Baku who have thus far remained silent. Baku is silent because Israel purchases about half its crude oil supply from Azerbaijan, and Azerbaijan has purchased just under $2B worth of Israeli high technology drones, support infrastructure, and limited manufacturing licensing of additional technologies. This creates a dilemma for official Baku, who call the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh separatists, or worse, while selling crude oil to Israel, which seemingly has less of an international legal basis for the incorporation of the Golan Heights than does Nagorno-Karabakh for its self-determination. During Nagorno-Karabakh negotiations, Azerbaijan might continue to demand jurisdiction over the entire region, but Armenia would note the precedent set in the annexation of the Golan Heights a clear violability of established borders (Bakus central argument) one that Baku never protested. The accompanied chart provides a relative comparison of arguments used and issues raised with respect to the self-determination of Nagorno-Karabakh and the Israeli annexation of the Golan Heights. The chart is not intended to be exhaustive. The “Advantage” column entries are based on how existing realities contribute to the “Argument” or “Issue. A None means one case has no particular advantage over the other. While not a strict mathematical endeavor, the case of Nagorno-Karabakh appears stronger than that of an official Israeli annexation of the Golan Heights and surrounding lands. Argument or Issue Golan Heights (GH) Nagorno-Karabakh (NK) Advantage 1 Historical Claim 1 Early as 953 BCE, land of Israel 1 Recently discovered 7000 year old tooth has exact DNA match with todays Armenians of NK 2 NK 2 Historical Claim 2 (currently known) At least 25 synagogues excavated 1 9+ Forts/Castles 3, 30 Churches/Monasteries 4 NK 3 Population ~50K 5,5.1 ~147 (2013) 6 NK 4 Focus population ~20k Jewish 5,5.1 ~147K Armenian 6 NK 5 Land area ~1200 15 ~4457 7 N/A 6 Population/sq km 42 (total) 21 (Jewish) 34 Armenian GH 7 Continuous ethnic plurality, last thousand plus years Jewish, Arab, then Druze (Jewish re-settlement post 1967) Armenian NK 8 Not included in expected territory Not part of 1923 British Palestine Mandate 1 Soviets rescinded Armenian jurisdiction, ordered Azerbaijani jurisdiction over NK in 1921 7 NK 9 Referendum on regions disposition No. GH was occupied militarily from the 1967 war Yes. Dec 1991: overwhelmingly in favor of independence from Azerbaijan. Vote was in accordance with USSR law. War fought until May 1994 7.1 NK 10 Israeli or Armenian law extended into regions Yes. 1981 Knesset enacted the Golan Heights Law extending Israels civil law, jurisdiction and administration8 No. NK has its own laws and constitution 7.1 NK 11 UN resolutions regarding activity UNSC Res. 497: dismissed Israel’s control of the Golan Heights as illegitimate 9 UNSC Res. 822: withdrawal of local occupying forces from Kelbajar 10 UNSC Res. 853: …calls on withdrawal of local Armenian troops from Agdam 11 UNSC Res. 874: …to implement Security Council resolutions 822 (1993) and 853 (1993)…12 UNSC Res. 884: …Condemns the recent violations of the cease-fire established between the parties … calls upon the Gov’t of Armenia to use its influence to achieve compliance by NagornoKarabakhArmenians13 NK 12 International Recognition None (Non-state) New South Wales, Basque Parliament, various US states NK 13 Unilateral associated state recognition Israel: Yes, stated its annexation intention on April 2016 14,15,16,17,18,19,20,21,22 Armenia: No. NK declared independence September 2, 19916 NK 14 Declaring international community recognize new reality Israel regarding Golan in 201614 Armenia in support of NK None 15 Abandon fixation with artificial borders drawn a century ago

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December 8, 2016   Posted in: Golan Heights  Comments Closed

Israeli forces kill 4 Islamic State allies in Golan Heights …

JERUSALEM Israeli forces engaged in a brief but deadly fight Sunday against Syrian militiamen allied with the Islamic State, killing four militants in the fraught borderlands of the Golan Heights. It was the first substantial fight between Israeli soldiers and ISIS affiliates in the long-running Syrian war, said Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, an Israel military spokesman. No Israelis were injured. Although there have been dozens of cases of errant and intentional artillery, mortar and small-arms fire from Syria toward Israeli-controlled territory in the occupied Golan Heights, this exchange involved the group known as the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade, whose leaders publicly pledged their allegiance to Islamic State in 2014. About 9 a.m. local time, a reconnaissance unit from Israels Golani Brigade was patrolling along the cease-fire line, the military said, outside the Israeli-built fence. The Israeli troops were confronted by the Syrian militants, who deployed small arms and mortars. The Israelis responded, according to the military spokesman. The Israeli air force spotted a vehicle armed with a heavy machine gun and destroyed it with a rocket, killing four occupants, Israel said. Israel has pledged to stay out of the Syrian conflict but has also vowed that it will respond to any threats made against Israelis in the Golan Heights. Earlier this year, the State Department designated the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade a global terrorist entity. The group is composed of local clans in southern Syria. Israeli military intelligence officers say there are few, if any, outsiders or foreign fighters in its ranks. The Yarmouk brigade was formed in 2012 and has staged attacks throughout southern Syria, often along the Israeli and Jordanian borders, the State Department said. In 2013, the group abducted 25 Filipino U.N. peacekeepers who patrol the disputed border between Israel and Syria in the Golan Heights. The peacekeepers were eventually released. The group has fought both alongside and against the rebels in the Nusra Front. Earlier this year, the militants changed the name of their brigade and allied with another group also affiliated with ISIS. Nitzan Nuriel, former director of the counterterrorism bureau at the prime ministers office, said he did not think the attack against the Israeli soldiers represents a new ISIS-directed offensive against Israel. I think the decision to open fire against our soldiers was a local decision, he said. It was not something ordered by a high command. Nuriel said Israels response was appropriate and repeated the message, Dont mess with us. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commended the troops. “We are prepared against any enemy that threatens us on our northern border, he said. Israel essentially annexed the Golan Heights in 1981 when it extended Israeli civil law vs. military rule to the territory it seized from Syria during the 1967 Six-Day War. The international community, including the United States, has never recognized Israels annexation of the heights and views the area as Syrian territory occupied by Israel. In April, Netanyahu declared that Israel will retain forever full control of the mountainous plateau and will never return the strategic highlands to neighboring Syria. Read more Todays coverage from Post correspondents around the world Like Washington Post World on Facebook and stay updated on foreign news

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November 27, 2016   Posted in: Golan Heights  Comments Closed

Golan Heights Winery – Wikipedia

The Golan Heights Winery (Hebrew: ) is an Israeli winery located in Katzrin, built on the site of an agricultural village from the Mishnaic period in the Golan Heights. It is Israel’s third largest winery.[2] In 2012, Golan Heights Winery was named New World Winery of the Year by Wine Enthusiast Magazine.[3] The Golan Heights Winery is jointly owned by eight Israeli settlementsmoshavim and kibbutzim, which also supply the grapes. Its first vintage was released in 1984. Production in 2008 reached 6 million bottles a year, 30% of which was exported.[4] The Golan Heights winery markets brands under the Golan, Yarden and Gamla labels and is the parent company of Galilee’s Galil Mountain Winery. Golan sources its grapes from sixteen vineyards in the Golan Heights and one vineyard in the Upper Galilee. The chief winemaker is Napa native Victor Schoenfeld.[5] The winery employs 110 people and incorporates sophisticated technology using pneumatic membrane presses, must chiller and computer-controlled cooling of stainless steel tanks. The winery also has an elaborate “experimental winery” for research and quality control of new wines and improvement of existing lines.[6] Traditional vinification techniques include barrel-fermented Chardonnay, Methode traditionelle sparkling wines, carbonic maceration for light reds and maturation in French and American oak barrels for premium red and white wines.[6] The Golan Heights Winery is credited with starting the “quality revolution” in Israeli wine, creating a brand identity for the country’s vintages, spurring the creation of new wineries and motivating existing wineries to improve the quality of their wines. Michal Neeman, director of the Israel Export & International Cooperation Institute’s food and beverage division, describes the role of the winery as crucial: “Everyone agrees that they were the first winery to produce excellent wine. Then came the boutique wineries, then the medium-sized, and then the large ones. There were a lot of other factors as well, but when you pinpoint the revolution, it started at Golan Heights.”[1] In partnership with Entav of France, the winery is developing disease-resistant clones and the worlds first insect-free mother block and nursery.[7] A number of Golan Heights wines were marketed by Systembolaget, Sweden’s state-owned monopoly alcohol retailer, as “Made in Israel” on shelves and in the sales catalogue. Following customer complaints and consultation with Sweden’s foreign ministry, Systembolaget changed the shelf labelling to read, “Made in Israeli-occupied Syrian territories.”[8] However this prompted complaints from Annelie Enochson and officials in Israel.[8][9] Systembolaget’s solution was to remove all reference to the product’s country of origin on shelves and in catalogues, classifying the wine as of “other origins.”[10] The winery has won worldwide acclaim and awards at the most prestigious festivals, including wine shows in France.[11] Golan Heights Winery was named Best Foreign Winery at the Prague Trophy 2008 international wine competition. At a ceremony on January 16, 2009, the winery received the award after winning seven medals at the competition.[12] In 2011, Golan Heights Winery won the Gran Vinitaly Special Award as the best wine producer at the 19th International Vinitaly Wine Competition in Italy. The winery earned two Grand Gold Medals for its 2009 Yarden Chardonnay Odem Organic Vineyard and its 2008 Yarden HeightsWine.[13] Its 2004 Yarden Cabernet Sauvignon was the first wine from Israel to be listed on the Wine Spectator Top 100.

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November 17, 2016   Posted in: Golan Heights  Comments Closed


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