The Syrian side of their border region with Israel has seen quite a lot of fighting between rebel forces, government forces, and terrorists—and that’s just in the last five years. As Israel approaches 49 years of control of the Golan heights on their side of the border, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu noted that Israel has reached an era of stability in the region that not only contrasts to the current civil war in Syria, but even to the use of the Golan as a heavily militarized zone before the war of 1967 that saw Israel obtain control of a region that has been part of Israel’s history off and on for millennia.
“During the 19 years that the Golan Heights were under Syrian occupation, when they were a place for bunkers, wire fences, mines and aggression, they were for war,” said Netanyahu in comments released by his office. “In the 49 years that the Golan Heights have been under Israeli rule, they have been for agriculture, tourism, economic initiatives and building. They are for peace. In the stormy region around us, Israel is the stabilizing factor; Israel is the solution, not the problem.” And Israel made it clear they are still for peace in Syria, but not if that means radical Islam rules Syria and threatens Israel.
Netanyahu spoke on Saturday night with US Secretary of State John Kerry, who is among the world leaders trying to work out a diplomatic solution to the Syrian conflict, and delivered the message. “We will not oppose a diplomatic settlement in Syria, on condition that it not come at the expense of the security of the State of Israel, i.e. that at the end of the day, the forces of Iran, Hezbollah and [ISIS] will be removed from Syrian soil,” said Netanyahu.
The Israeli leader noted that the above forces not only support radical Islamic control in Syria and even the Middle East, but “from there continue to impose it throughout the world.”
With the chaos in Syria in the backdrop, Netanyahu made it clear that they would not be handing over the Golan border region under their control to Syria, who has demanded its return ever since they lost it to Israel in 1967.
“The time has come for the international community to recognize reality, especially two basic facts. One, whatever is beyond the border, the boundary itself will not change,” said Netanyahu. “Two, after 50 years, the time has come for the international community to finally recognize that the Golan Heights will remain under Israel’s sovereignty permanently.”
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, April 17, 2016)