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Israel’s plans for Golan Heights

Date: 29 December 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

Israel is making a $317 million plan to double the amount of Jewish settlers living in the Golan Heights, which is a contested territory.

 

Background

Golan Heights, also called Golan Plateau is a hilly area overlooking the upper Jordan River valley on the west.

 

Details

  • The cabinet voted on the plan, which aims to build 7,300 settler homes in the region over a five-year period.

  • The government will try to attract 23,000 new Jewish settlers to the area by spending 1 billion Israeli shekels on housing, infrastructure and other projects. 

  • The Golan is bounded by the Jordan River and the Sea of Galilee on the west, Mount Hermon on the north, the seasonal Wadi Al-Ruqq?d on the east, and the Yarm?k River on the south. 

 

History of Golan

  • Golan Heights was the erstwhile territory of Syria. It was considered strategic for Syrian forces to attack Israel.

  • Israel captured the Golan Heights in the 1967 Mideast war and later annexed the territory. Now it is under Israel’s control.

 

Significance

  • The region is suitable for agriculture and horticulture in comparison to rest of Israel’s dry territory. The tourism sector has also grown in the region.

  • The control of the strategic plateau is needed as protection from Iran and its allies in Syria. Earlier Golan provided the cover for Syrian forces to enter Israel’s territory.

 

Controversy

  • In recent times, Israel has been driving out native Arab villagers and bringing in Jewish settlers. Arab nations consider that violation of UN treaty.

  • If Israel goes ahead with its plan to resettle Jewish people, any future attempt to forge peace with Syria will not occur.

 

Six-day war

It was the third of the Arab-Israeli wars. Israel’s decisive victory included the capture of the Sinai Peninsula, Gaza Strip, West Bank, Old City of Jerusalem, and Golan Heights.