The U.S., and the World, Should Recognize Israeli Sovereignty over the Golan Heights

March 7 2019

Last week, parallel bills were introduced in both the U.S. House and Senate that would formally acknowledge Israel’s claim to the Golan. Zvi Hauser explains that such a move is justified politically, strategically, historically, and morally:

Iran’s presence in Syria is a done deal . . . The border between Israel and Iran, between the West and radical Islam, now passes through the Golan Heights. Iranian militias, looking a lot like Hizballah, are digging into bases on the border with the Golan, the Shiite population in the area grows larger, and rocket supplies threaten the Israeli residents of the Golan Heights and the eastern Galilee. The Iranian leadership clearly realizes that the way to challenge Israel’s security isn’t necessarily by [conventional] warfare but by asymmetric conflict, deploying terrorist organizations and militias that spark skirmishes along the border and attack the civilian population. . . .

Jewish history in the Golan began as soon as the Israelites entered the land of Canaan, as the book of Joshua tells us. . . . Jewish settlement in the Golan grew and thrived in the end of the 6th and the beginning of the 5th centuries BCE with the return of the Jewish exiles from Babylon. In 67 CE, three years before the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Second Temple, the Golan witnessed the battle of Gamla, which was part of the Jewish rebellion against Rome. . . . Archaeological digs in the Golan have thus far revealed the remains of 25 synagogues that operated between the Jewish rebellion in the 1st century CE and the Muslim conquest in the mid-7th century CE, as well as evidence of numerous Jewish villages and communities. . . .

Syria controlled the Golan for 21 years—as opposed to 52 years of Israeli control. In those 21 years, it encouraged terrorist organizations to use the entire Golan as a base of operations for terrorist attacks against Israel, ceaselessly bombarded communities around the Sea of Galilee and close to the border, used the Golan as a strategic base from which continuously to threaten Israel, [and] attempted to divert the Golan’s water sources, hoping to deny Israel vital waters it needed for drinking and agriculture. . . .

There is no other horizon for the Golan Heights save for the Israeli horizon.

Read more at Tablet

More about: Golan Heights, Iran, Israel & Zionism, Syria, US-Israel relations


The Right and Wrong Ways for the U.S. to Support the Palestinians

Sept. 29 2023

On Wednesday, Elliott Abrams testified before Congress about the Taylor Force Act, passed in 2018 to withhold U.S. funds from the Palestinian Authority (PA) so long as it continues to reward terrorists and their families with cash. Abrams cites several factors explaining the sharp increase in Palestinian terrorism this year, among them Iran’s attempt to wage proxy war on Israel; another is the “Palestinian Authority’s continuing refusal to fight terrorism.” (Video is available at the link below.)

As long as the “pay for slay” system continues, the message to Palestinians is that terrorists should be honored and rewarded. And indeed year after year, the PA honors individuals who have committed acts of terror by naming plazas or schools after them or announcing what heroes they are or were.

There are clear alternatives to “pay to slay.” It would be reasonable for the PA to say that, whatever the crime committed, the criminal’s family and children should not suffer for it. The PA could have implemented a welfare-based system, a system of family allowances based on the number of children—as one example. It has steadfastly refused to do so, precisely because such a system would no longer honor and reward terrorists based on the seriousness of their crimes.

These efforts, like the act itself, are not at all meant to diminish assistance to the Palestinian people. Rather, they are efforts to direct aid to the Palestinian people rather than to convicted terrorists. . . . [T]he Taylor Force Act does not stop U.S. assistance to Palestinians, but keeps it out of hands in the PA that are channels for paying rewards for terror.

[S]hould the United States continue to aid the Palestinian security forces? My answer is yes, and I note that it is also the answer of Israel and Jordan. As I’ve noted, PA efforts against Hamas or other groups may be self-interested—fights among rivals, not principled fights against terrorism. Yet they can have the same effect of lessening the Iranian-backed terrorism committed by Palestinian groups that Iran supports.

Read more at Council on Foreign Relations

More about: Palestinian Authority, Palestinian terror, U.S. Foreign policy