the golan heights

The Golan Heights

The Golan Heights is an area that used to be part of Syria. It is located northeast of the State of Israel and was conquered and subsequently annexed by them in the 1967 Six-Day War and the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Despite protests from the international community and the UN with different resolutions, Israel did not return the territory previously conquered in 1967 during the so-called Six-Day War to Syria. Before these clashes, Israel was on the southern border with Syria at the Sea of ​​Galileebeen severely threatened. In addition, in a geographical sense, this area was only a sparsely populated, hilly region in the Middle East and was only of military interest to Syria.

Internationally recognized as part of Syria, the Golan Heights have been under Israeli control since 1967. Israel administers the annexed territories as part of its Northern District; Syria claims the area entirely and counts it as part of its Quneitra governorate, a small space under UN control ( UNDOF ) since 1974. The status of the Golan Heights is an obstacle to peace negotiations between the two countries. The Golan Heightsgeographically and geologically, is a volcanic basaltic plateau between the Sea of ​​Galilee and the Syrian capital Damascus, bounded by the Yarmuk River to the south, the Sea of ​​Galilee and the Hula Plain to the west, Mount Hermon to the north, and the Wadi Ar- Ruqqad is limited to the east.

History of Golan Heights

The Golan soils are very rocky, and large areas are potentially mined. The rainfall is comparatively high. Israel obtains much of its drinking water indirectly (via the Jordan River and the Sea of ​​Galilee ) from the Golan Heights. Eight thousand one hundred hectares of land are used for agriculture, including viticulture. Another 46,575 hectares serve as grazing land for around 15,000 cattle and 5,000 sheep for milk and meat production. A Jewish settlement in the Golan Heights goes back to antiquity return. Like Masada at the Dead Sea, there was a stronghold of zealots at Gamla ( Gamala ). Which, however, was captured by the Romans in the year 67 after a relatively short time.

Syria used the Golan Heights as a military base from which Israeli communities were repeatedly shelled. Ein Gev on the east side of the Sea of ​​Galilee suffered particularly severely from this. This applied particularly to the Israeli villages bordering the Golan in the established demilitarized zones. As part of the 1949 armistice agreement. Arab attempts to settle these areas were prevented by Israel. During the 1967 Six-Day War, Israel occupied the Golan Heights. In November 1967, the United Nations Security Council called on Israel to withdraw in its Resolution 242 and emphasized that acquiring territory through the war was inadmissible. During and after the war, almost all Arab residents (around 120,000) were expelled from the area. Except for the Druze, most were allowed to continue living there.

the golan heights

Representation of the Golan Heights

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One reason for this was that there had been relatively good and peaceful relations between the Druze and the Jewish population. And leadership since the times of the British Mandate. In 1979, Israel offered the Druze on the Golan the opportunity to acquire Israeli citizenship. But few Druze accepted. In 1981/1982, there were massive protests by the Druze against Israel. Among other things, the return of the area to Syria was also demanded.

Later, the Israeli colonization by the World Security Council was expressly condemned as illegal in its 1979 Resolutions 446 and 452. Syria was initially able to re-occupy parts of the Golan in the 1973 Yom Kippur War. However, these areas were lost again as the fighting progressed.

Majdal Shams

A similar number of Druze live in a small area of ​​four villages north of the Golan. Majdal Shams is a small Druze town in the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights. The city has about 8800 inhabitants. The small town inhabited by Syrian Druze lies on the southern slope of Mount Hermon. Under the Ottoman rule, the site was the seat of a Mudir. The residents of Majdal Shams were involved in the Syrian Revolution (1925 – 1927). An uprising against the French Mandate, which the Druze involved, mainly drove.

The uprising saw a serious massacre of the Druze religious minority by France and its soldiers; numerous Druze civilians, including women and children, were killed by French soldiers in the suppression of the uprising, and the Druze state established by France itself was shattered as a result. As a result of the uprising, the opposition bloc national was founded, and three years later, the Syrian Republic.


Before the Israeli troops could withdraw, the 37,000 inhabitants had to leave the city. According to the Syrian side, Quneitra was then destroyed by the Israeli army; the UN confirmed this information. According to Israeli accounts, however, Quneitra had already been mauled by Syrian artillery during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. The city has only been partially rebuilt to this day. The Israeli capital of the Golan is Katzrin. Katzrin, also called Qazrin, is one of the, along with Merom Golanlargest places on the Golan Heights. The place’s name goes back to the ancient settlement of Katzrin, mentioned in the Talmud, which has also been preserved in the name of a nearby Arab village.


A large part of the Golan Heights is around 1000 meters. The area is 1,150 square kilometers, with a length of 60 kilometers and a width of 25 km. The highest elevation is Mount Hermon in the north at 2814 meters. Due to the altitude, there is so much snow in winter that a ski area could be set up near the Israeli settlement of Newe Ativ – the only one in the regions ruled by Israel.

The largest city in the Golan Heights was Syria’s Quneitra, occupied by the Israeli army during the 1967 Six-Day War. In 1973 Yom Kippur Warthe city was recaptured by the Syrian army. In 1974, the Israeli military repelled the Syrian attack and withdrew from the town, which has since been part of UN-controlled territory.