Sunday, November 04, 2012

Three Lost Syrian Tanks Who Are in Israel's Golan Heights

Nadene Goldfoot
Are they really off track?  Three Syrian tanks entered the Golan Heights, home to 18,000 Jews, and  belonging to Israel on Saturday.  It's a demilitarized zone.  The distance from the Golan to Haifa is only 60 miles!  The violence in Syria seems to be spilling into Israel now.  These tanks haven't left yet.  They have been attacking Syrian rebels.  The is the first incursion in the past 40 years.

Of course Israel has complained to the UN about it.  Israelis have reported hearing the shouting of  "Allahu Akbar!"  The UN response is low-key saying it didn't see the Syrian armor as an immediate threat.  So for them it's okay for an enemy to park 60 miles from a major Israeli city and make war on its people from Israel and of course they won't turn an then attack Israelis.

However, Israel is not stupid.  The IDF is ready to defend Israel.  The area is very small consisting of 250,000 acres , but surely these tanks know where they arrived.  The Golan Heights was a part of the 1967 War that Israel won against huge odds of the many Muslim countries against tiny Israel. The word "Heights" tells you of the terrain.  It is from 400 to 1700 feet high and overlooks the Huleh Valley.   The Golan Heights is important to Israel for their security measures.  Otherwise an enemy can bombard Israel from on high. The Arabs would bombard kibbutzim along the upper Jordan Valley. " In a surprise attack on Yom Kippur, the Syrians overran the Golan Heights before being repulsed by Israeli counterattacks.  After the war, Syria signed a disengagement agreement that left the Golan in Israel's hands".  Many Israelis live there today.  There is one major city and 32 towns.   In 1985 the population, include the Druze was 22,500.

 Our history goes way back with the Golan Heights.  It had come into Moses's hands when King Og ruled the  Amorites of Bashan. Og, referred to as a giant,  was killed by the Israelites at Edrei   The kings of Israel had to fight the Aramaeans from Damascus here.  Golan had been a city of refuge for the Jews.  It was a capital in 2nd Temple times and had a Jewish settlement until the 5th Century CE.

In the meantime, Islamic Syrian militants made an assault on a Syrian airbase in the north.  They were trying to disrupt strikes by Syrian warplanes and helicopters.  These government planes hit targets in the Damascus suburbs and killed at least 10 and wounded dozens.  So if that's where the rebels were, why are the tanks in the Golan Heights?

The Golan Heights would be big enough for 400 settlers in Oregon who would have bought 640 acre plots that had been offered to them for $1 per acre in the Homestead Act of 1862 with one farmer being shorted. Then again, since most couldn't afford this, 320 acre plots were sold off.

Oregonian newspaper 11/3/12 page  A2 Developments in the Middle East:  Syria
The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia

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