Israel Starts Home Demolitions in Syrian Golan, Plans Annexation
Christof Lehmann (nsnbc) : Israel has for the first time used the illegal home demolition policy it uses in Palestine in the Israeli-occupied Syrian Golan Heights. Tel Aviv declared that Israel and the Golan are “part and parcel” and that the international community should get used to the fact that Israel will annex the Syrian territory that holds major energy reserves. Israel also aids “Syrian rebels” via a corridor from which UN blue helmets were displaced.
Israeli occupation authorities in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights, on Wednesday, for the first time demolished a home, claiming it was built without permission. The demolition and claims the house was built without permission violates Israel’s obligations under international law, according to which an occupying power must assure that administration in occupied territories adhere, to the greatest possible degree, to the law of the occupied country’s territory.
Israel has, however, enforced new Hebrew as official administrative language, denies building permits and engages in other violations of international law that aim at oppressing the Arab population and culture and Syrian administration in the occupied Golan.
Al Marsad, which is the only human rights organization that operates in the Golan, reported that hundreds of Israeli police accompanied by bulldozers demolished the home of Bassam Ibrahim in Majdal Shams, the largest town in the Israeli occupied Golan. In a statement, Al Marsad said:
“This is the first time that the Israeli authorities have demolished a home in Majdal Shams. … The destruction of this home marks the adoption of a new systematic policy of home demolitions by the Israeli authorities in the remaining Syrian villages in the Occupied Syrian Golan. The Syrian owners of dozens of other homes have been threatened with similar action. … As a result of the severe restrictions imposed by Israeli planning and construction committees, it is close to impossible for the Syrian population to obtain the necessary building permits. Therefore, the Syrian population is forced to build homes without building permits, as this is the only way to meet their housing needs given unprecedented levels of overcrowding,”
The rights organization accused Israel of preventing the Syrian population from building in their cities while encouraging and facilitating the construction and expansion of illegal Israeli settlements in the Golan Heights. Israel occupied the Syrian Golan Heights after the June 1967 war.
Israel’s continued occupation violates international law and has been opposed by several UN General Assembly resolutions. None of the UN Security Council’s five permanent members (P5), however, has taken any tangible steps that would be consistent with their mandate and obligation to end the illegal occupation.
The failure of UN Security Council and the UN system as a whole has emboldened Israel to declare that “Israel and the Golan are part and parcel”. In June 2013 an Austrian United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) officer explained that Israel was maintaining a joint intelligence and operations room with “Syrian rebels”. Warnings by Syrian UN Envoy Dr. Al-Hamwi, in July 2013, to the effect that Israel commits methodical crimes in the Golan were ignored by the UN Security Council (UNSC).
By mid-2013, reports about the Israeli involvement in the war on Syria via the Israeli occupied Syrian Golan and in the UNDOF controlled neutral zone slowly made it to some of the Western and Arab media. The administration of Israel’s PM Benjamin Netanyahu transformed that, what could have developed into a PR nightmare, into a propaganda success when Netanyahu visited an Israeli field hospital for “Syrian opposition fighters”.
Netanyahu told Israeli TV viewers and international press that the field hospital showed the true, humanitarian face of Israel. The PM did not mention a word about Israel’s direct and indirect military support of Jabhat al-Nusrah and other al-Qaeda associated brigades. (see video)
Israel opens 12 – 16 kilometer wide corridor for Syrian Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusrah after Displacement of UNDOF Troops – “International Community” stands by or pays lip service
Also in 2013, Israeli machinations and cooperation with Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusrah, resulted in the withdrawal of UNDOF troops from a 12 – 16 kilometer wide corridor in the disengagement zone. (see map below)
The corridor facilitated direct logistic support of Islamist insurgents in Syria via this corridor. Russia’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Pyotr Ilyichev, urged the international community to use its influence on anti-Syrian militants in the Golan Heights to prevent the phase-down of the UNDOF peacekeeping mission.
However, the lip-service of the deputy representative did not manifest in a Russian sponsored UN Security Council resolution.
In February 2014 then Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman publicly called for “settling the Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights within the framework of the Israeli – Palestinian negotiations” adding that “part of this comprehensive bargain has to cover an understanding between Israel, the international community and the USA” and adding that “the Golan is part and parcel with Israel”.
Wednesday morning, March 5, 2014, Israeli troops launched military attacks against Syria from the Israeli occupied Syrian Golan Heights. Several Syrian Internal Security Forces and civilians were injured. On March 7, mass protests in Syria denounced Israel’s aggression.
In May 2014 Israel denied Syrians in the occupied Golan Heights voting rights during Syrian elections. Again, the United Nations failed to respond.
In 2015 Israel intensified its annexation program, inspired by the discovery of substantial hydrocarbon resources in the Golan Heights. US interests involving Genie Energy and celebrities including Dick Cheney are involved in plans to develop the resources.
Prior to talks between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin, in April 2016, Netanyahu asserted that “Israel will never relinquish the Golan Heights”.
Putin, the President of a permanent UN Security Council member State was spectacularly silent about Israel’s “red lines”. In June, 2016 Syrians in the occupied Golan launched protests against Israel’s annexation plans. The international press was spectacularly silent. None of the five permanent UNSC member States officially responded to the first “home demolition”.
CH/L – nsnbc 09.09.2016