Golan Heights

Golan Heights

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The Golan Heights referred to as the Syrian Golan by the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 and as the Golan by some sources, forms a rocky plateau
Plateau
In geology and earth science, a plateau , also called a high plain or tableland, is an area of highland, usually consisting of relatively flat terrain. A highly eroded plateau is called a dissected plateau...

 in the Anti-Lebanon mountains that overlooks southern Syria. The plateau has an average altitude of 1000 metres (3,280.8 ft), an area totaling 1800 square kilometres (695 sq mi), and straddles the boundary between Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

 and Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

i-held territory. Elevations range from 2814 metres (9,232.3 ft) in the north at Mount Hermon
Mount Hermon
Mount Hermon is a mountain cluster in the Anti-Lebanon mountain range. Its summit straddles the border between Syria and Lebanon and, at 2,814 m above sea level, is the highest point in Syria. On the top there is “Hermon Hotel”, in the buffer zone between Syria and Israeli-occupied...

, to below sea level along the Sea of Galilee
Sea of Galilee
The Sea of Galilee, also Kinneret, Lake of Gennesaret, or Lake Tiberias , is the largest freshwater lake in Israel, and it is approximately in circumference, about long, and wide. The lake has a total area of , and a maximum depth of approximately 43 m...

  and the Yarmuk River in the south. The region attracts three million tourists a year and supplies Israel with one-third of its water.

The earliest evidence of human habitation dates to the Upper Paleolithic
Upper Paleolithic
The Upper Paleolithic is the third and last subdivision of the Paleolithic or Old Stone Age as it is understood in Europe, Africa and Asia. Very broadly it dates to between 40,000 and 10,000 years ago, roughly coinciding with the appearance of behavioral modernity and before the advent of...

 period. According to the Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

, an Amorite
Amorite
Amorite refers to an ancient Semitic people who occupied large parts of Mesopotamia from the 21st Century BC...

 Kingdom in Bashan
Bashan
Bashan or Basan is a biblical place first mentioned in , where it is said that Chedorlaomer and his confederates "smote the Rephaim in Ashteroth", where Og the king of Bashan had his residence. At the time of Israel's entrance into the Promised Land, Og came out against them, but was utterly routed...

 was conquered by Israelites during the reign of King Og
Og
Og, according to the bible, was an Amorite king of Bashan who, along with his army, was slain by Moses and his men at the battle of Edrei...

. Throughout the Old Testament period, the Golan was "the focus of a power struggle between the Kings of Israel and the Aramaeans who were based near modern-day Damascus." The Itureans
Iturea
Iturea is the Greek name of a region in the Levant during the Late Hellenistic and early Roman periods. It is mentioned only once in the Christian Bible, while in historical sources the name of the people, the Itureans , occurs...

, an Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

 or Aramaic people, settled there in the 2nd century BCE and remained until the end of the Byzantine period. Organized Jewish settlement in the region came to an end in 636 CE when it was conquered by Arabs under Umar ibn al-Khattāb
Umar
`Umar ibn al-Khattāb c. 2 November , was a leading companion and adviser to the Islamic prophet Muhammad who later became the second Muslim Caliph after Muhammad's death....

. In the 16th century, the Golan was conquered by the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 and was part of the Vilayet of Damascus until it was transferred to French control
French Mandate of Syria
Officially the French Mandate for Syria and the Lebanon was a League of Nations mandate founded after the First World War and the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire...

 in 1918. When the mandate terminated in 1944, it became part of the newly independent Syrian Arab Republic
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

.

Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

 during the 1967 Six-Day War
Six-Day War
The Six-Day War , also known as the June War, 1967 Arab-Israeli War, or Third Arab-Israeli War, was fought between June 5 and 10, 1967, by Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt , Jordan, and Syria...

, establishing the Purple Line, and Israel has since occupied
Military occupation
Military occupation occurs when the control and authority over a territory passes to a hostile army. The territory then becomes occupied territory.-Military occupation and the laws of war:...

 the land. On June 19, 1967, the Israeli cabinet voted to return the Golan to Syria in exchange for a peace agreement. Such overtures were dismissed by the Arab world with the Khartoum Resolution
Khartoum Resolution
The Khartoum Resolution of September 1, 1967 was issued at the conclusion of an Arab League summit in the wake of the Six-Day War. The resolution, which formed a basis of the policies of these governments toward Israel until the 1973 Yom Kippur War, called for: a continued state of belligerency...

 on September 1, 1967. In the aftermath of the 1973 Yom Kippur War
Yom Kippur War
The Yom Kippur War, Ramadan War or October War , also known as the 1973 Arab-Israeli War and the Fourth Arab-Israeli War, was fought from October 6 to 25, 1973, between Israel and a coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria...

, Israel agreed to return about 5% of the territory to Syrian civilian control. This part was incorporated into a demilitarised zone that runs along the ceasefire line and extends eastward. This strip is under the military control of UN peace keeping forces.

Construction of Israeli settlements began in the remainder of the territory held by Israel, which was governed under military administration until 1981, when Israel passed the Golan Heights Law
Golan Heights Law
The Golan Heights Law is the Israeli law which applies Israel's government and laws to the Golan Heights. It was ratified by the Knesset on December 14, 1981. The law was condemned internationally and determined null and void by United Nations Security Council Resolution 497.The law was passed...

 extending Israeli law
Israeli law
Israeli law is a mixed legal system reflecting the diverse history of the territory of the State of Israel throughout the last hundred years , as well as the legal systems of its major religious communities...

 and administration throughout the territory. This move was condemned by the United Nations Security Council
United Nations Security Council
The United Nations Security Council is one of the principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. Its powers, outlined in the United Nations Charter, include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of...

 in UN Resolution 497
United Nations Security Council Resolution 497
United Nations Security Council Resolution 497, adopted unanimously on December 17, 1981, calls on the State of Israel to rescind its de facto annexation of the Golan Heights...

, which said that "the Israeli decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights is null and void and without international legal effect." Israel asserts its right to retain the Golan, citing the text of UN Resolution 242
United Nations Security Council Resolution 242
United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 was adopted unanimously by the UN Security Council on November 22, 1967, in the aftermath of the Six Day War. It was adopted under Chapter VIof the United Nations Charter...

, which calls for "safe and recognised boundaries free from threats or acts of force". However, the international community rejects Israeli claims to title to the territory and regards it as sovereign Syrian territory.

Israeli Prime Ministers Yitzhak Rabin
Yitzhak Rabin
' was an Israeli politician, statesman and general. He was the fifth Prime Minister of Israel, serving two terms in office, 1974–77 and 1992 until his assassination in 1995....

, Ehud Barak
Ehud Barak
Ehud Barak is an Israeli politician who served as Prime Minister from 1999 until 2001. He was leader of the Labor Party until January 2011 and holds the posts of Minister of Defense and Deputy Prime Minister in Binyamin Netanyahu's government....

, and Ehud Olmert
Ehud Olmert
Ehud Olmert is an Israeli politician and lawyer. He served as Prime Minister of Israel from 2006 to 2009, as a Cabinet Minister from 1988 to 1992 and from 2003 to 2006, and as Mayor of Jerusalem from 1993 to 2003....

 each stated that they were willing to exchange the Golan for peace with Syria. Approximately 10% of Syrian Golan Druze have accepted Israeli citizenship.

Etymology and toponymy


Arabic names are Jawlān and Djolan .
In the bible Golan is mentioned as a city of refuge located in Bashan
Bashan
Bashan or Basan is a biblical place first mentioned in , where it is said that Chedorlaomer and his confederates "smote the Rephaim in Ashteroth", where Og the king of Bashan had his residence. At the time of Israel's entrance into the Promised Land, Og came out against them, but was utterly routed...

: , , . 19th century authors interpreted the word "Golan" as meaning "something surrounded, hence a district". The Greek name for the region is Gaulanitis . In the Mishna the name is Gablān similar to Aramaic language
Aramaic language
Aramaic is a group of languages belonging to the Afroasiatic language phylum. The name of the language is based on the name of Aram, an ancient region in central Syria. Within this family, Aramaic belongs to the Semitic family, and more specifically, is a part of the Northwest Semitic subfamily,...

 names for the region: Gawlāna, Guwlana and Gublānā.
Arab cartographers of the Byzantine
Byzantine
Byzantine usually refers to the Roman Empire during the Middle Ages.Byzantine may also refer to:* A citizen of the Byzantine Empire, or native Greek during the Middle Ages...

 period referred to the area as jabal (mountain), though the region is a plateau. The Muslims took over in 7th century CE. The name Golan Heights was not used before the 19th century. The UN
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 refers to the region as The Occupied Syrian Golan.

Geography



The Golan Heights is an area measuring 1175 square kilometres (453.7 sq mi) that borders Israel, Lebanon and Jordan. The area is hilly and high and allows observation of the Sea of Galilee
Sea of Galilee
The Sea of Galilee, also Kinneret, Lake of Gennesaret, or Lake Tiberias , is the largest freshwater lake in Israel, and it is approximately in circumference, about long, and wide. The lake has a total area of , and a maximum depth of approximately 43 m...

, the Jordan River and the 2743.2 metres (9,000 ft) tall Mount Hermon
Mount Hermon
Mount Hermon is a mountain cluster in the Anti-Lebanon mountain range. Its summit straddles the border between Syria and Lebanon and, at 2,814 m above sea level, is the highest point in Syria. On the top there is “Hermon Hotel”, in the buffer zone between Syria and Israeli-occupied...

. The plateau that Israel controls is part of a larger area of volcanic basalt fields stretching north and east that were created in the series of volcanic eruptions that began recently in geological terms, almost 4 million years ago, and continue to this day. It has distinct geographic boundaries. On the north, the Sa'ar valley (Banias
Banias
Banias is an archaeological site by the ancient city of Caesarea Philippi, located at the foot of Mount Hermon in the Golan Heights...

) generally divides the lighter-colored limestone bedrock of the mountains from the dark-colored volcanic rocks of the Golan plateau. The western border of the plateau is truncated structurally
Structural geology
Structural geology is the study of the three-dimensional distribution of rock units with respect to their deformational histories. The primary goal of structural geology is to use measurements of present-day rock geometries to uncover information about the history of deformation in the rocks, and...

 by the Jordan Rift Valley
Jordan Rift Valley
The Jordan Rift Valley is an elongated depression located in modern-day Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian territories. This geographic region includes the Jordan River, Jordan Valley, Hula Valley, Lake Tiberias and the Dead Sea, the lowest land elevation on Earth...

, which falls down steeply into the lake. South of Yarmuk River lies Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan end east of Raqqad river ( Wadi
Wadi
Wadi is the Arabic term traditionally referring to a valley. In some cases, it may refer to a dry riverbed that contains water only during times of heavy rain or simply an intermittent stream.-Variant names:...

 Ruqqad
Ruqqad
The Ruqqad is a wadi flowing in south-west Syria .It flows into the Yarmouk River, and forms the Eastern boundary of the Golan Heights....

 ) are areas still controlled by Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

.

The plateau's north-south length is approximately 65 kilometres (40.4 mi) and its east-west width varies from 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) to 25 kilometres (15.5 mi). Topographically
Topography
Topography is the study of Earth's surface shape and features or those ofplanets, moons, and asteroids...

, the Golan Heights ranges in elevation
Elevation
The elevation of a geographic location is its height above a fixed reference point, most commonly a reference geoid, a mathematical model of the Earth's sea level as an equipotential gravitational surface ....

 from 2814 metres (9,232.3 ft) on Mount Hermon
Mount Hermon
Mount Hermon is a mountain cluster in the Anti-Lebanon mountain range. Its summit straddles the border between Syria and Lebanon and, at 2,814 m above sea level, is the highest point in Syria. On the top there is “Hermon Hotel”, in the buffer zone between Syria and Israeli-occupied...

 in the north, to about 400 metres (1,312.3 ft) elevation along the Yarmuk River in the south. Lake Kinneret
Kinneret
Kinneret or Kineret may refer to:* Sea of Galilee, Israel's largest freshwater lake** Kinneret, Israel, village southwest of the lake** Kvutzat Kinneret, kibbutz southwest of the lake** Kinneret College, college south of the lake...

 (also known as Sea of Galilee
Sea of Galilee
The Sea of Galilee, also Kinneret, Lake of Gennesaret, or Lake Tiberias , is the largest freshwater lake in Israel, and it is approximately in circumference, about long, and wide. The lake has a total area of , and a maximum depth of approximately 43 m...

, Lake Tiberias) at the southwest corner of the plateau is 200 metres (656.2 ft) bellow sea level
Sea level
Mean sea level is a measure of the average height of the ocean's surface ; used as a standard in reckoning land elevation...

. The steeper, more rugged topography is generally limited to the northern half, including Mt. Hermon foothill, on the south the plateau is more level.

The broader Golan plateau exhibits a more subdued topography, generally ranging between 120 metres (393.7 ft) and 520 metres (1,706 ft) in elevation. In Israel, the Golan plateau is usually divided into three regions: northern (between the Sa'ar and Jilabun valleys), central (between the Jilabun and Daliyot valleys), and southern (between the Dlayot and Yarmouk valleys). The Golan Heights is bordered on the west by a rock escarpment that drops 500 metres (1,640.4 ft) to the Jordan River valley and the Sea of Galilee
Sea of Galilee
The Sea of Galilee, also Kinneret, Lake of Gennesaret, or Lake Tiberias , is the largest freshwater lake in Israel, and it is approximately in circumference, about long, and wide. The lake has a total area of , and a maximum depth of approximately 43 m...

. In the south, the incised Yarmouk River valley
Yarmouk River
The Yarmouk River is the largest tributary of the Jordan River. It drains much of the Hauran Plateau. It is one of three main tributaries which enter the Jordan between the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea. To the south, are the Jabbok/Zarqa and the Arnon/Wadi Mujib) rivers...

 marks the limits of the plateau and, east of the abandoned railroad bridge upstream of Hamat Gader
Hamat Gader
Hamat Gader is a site in the Yarmouk River valley, near the Sea of Galilee in the Golan Heights. The name means "hot springs of Gadara", referring to the several mineral springs with temperatures up to 50°C...

 and Al Hammah, it marks the recognised international border between Syria and Jordan.

Geologically
Geology
Geology is the science comprising the study of solid Earth, the rocks of which it is composed, and the processes by which it evolves. Geology gives insight into the history of the Earth, as it provides the primary evidence for plate tectonics, the evolutionary history of life, and past climates...

, the Golan plateau and the Hauran
Hauran
Hauran, , also spelled Hawran or Houran, is a volcanic plateau, a geographic area and a people located in southwestern Syria and extending into the northwestern corner of Jordan. It gets its name from the Aramaic Hawran, meaning "cave land." In geographic and geomorphic terms, its boundaries...

 plain
Plain
In geography, a plain is land with relatively low relief, that is flat or gently rolling. Prairies and steppes are types of plains, and the archetype for a plain is often thought of as a grassland, but plains in their natural state may also be covered in shrublands, woodland and forest, or...

 to the east constitute a Holocene
Holocene
The Holocene is a geological epoch which began at the end of the Pleistocene and continues to the present. The Holocene is part of the Quaternary period. Its name comes from the Greek words and , meaning "entirely recent"...

 volcanic field
Volcanic field
A volcanic field is an area of the Earth's crust that is prone to localized volcanic activity. They usually contain 10 to 100 volcanoes, such as cinder cones and are usually in clusters. Lava flows may also occur...

 that also extends northeast almost to Damascus
Damascus
Damascus , commonly known in Syria as Al Sham , and as the City of Jasmine , is the capital and the second largest city of Syria after Aleppo, both are part of the country's 14 governorates. In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major...

. Much of the area is scattered with dormant volcanos, as well as cinder cones, such as Majdal Shams
Majdal Shams
Majdal Shams is a Druze village in the northern part of the Golan Heights, in the southern foothills of Mt. Hermon. Since the June 1967 Six-Day War, the village has been controlled by Israel, first under martial law, but since 1981 under Israeli civil law, and incorporated into the Israeli...

. The plateau also contains a crater lake
Crater lake
A crater lake is a lake that forms in a volcanic crater or caldera, such as a maar; less commonly and with lower association to the term a lake may form in an impact crater caused by a meteorite. Sometimes lakes which form inside calderas are called caldera lakes, but often this distinction is not...

, called Birkat Ram
Birkat Ram
Lake Ram is a crater lake in the northeastern Golan Heights, near Mount Hermon. The only sources of the lake are rain water and an underground spring. The water does not leave the lake to any other body of water...

 ("Ram Pool"), which is fed by both surface runoff
Surface runoff
Surface runoff is the water flow that occurs when soil is infiltrated to full capacity and excess water from rain, meltwater, or other sources flows over the land. This is a major component of the water cycle. Runoff that occurs on surfaces before reaching a channel is also called a nonpoint source...

 and underground springs. These volcanic areas are characterised by basalt
Basalt
Basalt is a common extrusive volcanic rock. It is usually grey to black and fine-grained due to rapid cooling of lava at the surface of a planet. It may be porphyritic containing larger crystals in a fine matrix, or vesicular, or frothy scoria. Unweathered basalt is black or grey...

 bedrock and dark soils derived from its weathering
Weathering
Weathering is the breaking down of rocks, soils and minerals as well as artificial materials through contact with the Earth's atmosphere, biota and waters...

. The basalt flows overlie older, distinctly lighter-colored limestones and marl
Marl
Marl or marlstone is a calcium carbonate or lime-rich mud or mudstone which contains variable amounts of clays and aragonite. Marl was originally an old term loosely applied to a variety of materials, most of which occur as loose, earthy deposits consisting chiefly of an intimate mixture of clay...

s, exposed along the Yarmouk River in the south.

The rock forming the mountainous area in the northern Golan Heights, descending from Mount Hermon
Mount Hermon
Mount Hermon is a mountain cluster in the Anti-Lebanon mountain range. Its summit straddles the border between Syria and Lebanon and, at 2,814 m above sea level, is the highest point in Syria. On the top there is “Hermon Hotel”, in the buffer zone between Syria and Israeli-occupied...

, are geologically quite different from the volcanic rocks of the plateau, including a different physiography. The mountains are characterised by distinctly lighter-colored, Jurassic
Jurassic
The Jurassic is a geologic period and system that extends from about Mya to  Mya, that is, from the end of the Triassic to the beginning of the Cretaceous. The Jurassic constitutes the middle period of the Mesozoic era, also known as the age of reptiles. The start of the period is marked by...

 age limestone
Limestone
Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed largely of the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate . Many limestones are composed from skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral or foraminifera....

 of sedimentary origin. Locally, the limestone is broken by faults and solution channels to form a karst-like topography
Karst topography
Karst topography is a geologic formation shaped by the dissolution of a layer or layers of soluble bedrock, usually carbonate rock such as limestone or dolomite, but has also been documented for weathering resistant rocks like quartzite given the right conditions.Due to subterranean drainage, there...

 in which springs are common (e.g. Baniyas
Baniyas
Baniyas is a city of northwestern Syria, located at the foot of the hill of Qalaat el-Marqab , 55 km to the south of Latakia and 35 km north of Tartous , and a Catholic titular see under the Latin name of Balanea, which is presently vacant.It is famous for its orchards...

).


In addition to its strategic importance militarily, the Golan Heights contributes significantly to the water resources
Water resources
Water resources are sources of water that are useful or potentially useful. Uses of water include agricultural, industrial, household, recreational and environmental activities. Virtually all of these human uses require fresh water....

 of the region. This is true particularly at the higher elevations, which are snow-covered much of the year in the cold months and help to sustain baseflow
Baseflow
Baseflow is the portion of streamflow that comes from "the sum of deep subsurface flow and delayed shallow subsurface flow"...

 for rivers and springs during the dry season. The heights receive significantly more precipitation than the surrounding, lower-elevation areas. The occupied sector of the Golan Heights provides or controls a substantial portion of the water in the Jordan River watershed
Drainage basin
A drainage basin is an extent or an area of land where surface water from rain and melting snow or ice converges to a single point, usually the exit of the basin, where the waters join another waterbody, such as a river, lake, reservoir, estuary, wetland, sea, or ocean...

, which in turn provides a portion of Israel's water supply. The Golan Heights are the source of about 15% of Israel's water supply.

Antiquity


The Venus of Berekhat Ram
Venus of Berekhat Ram
The Venus of Berekhat Ram is a pebble found at Berekhat Ram on the Golan Heights in the summer of 1981 by archaeologist N. Goren-Inbar of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. An article by Goren-Inbar and S...

, a stone figure from the Lower Paleolithic
Lower Paleolithic
The Lower Paleolithic is the earliest subdivision of the Paleolithic or Old Stone Age. It spans the time from around 2.5 million years ago when the first evidence of craft and use of stone tools by hominids appears in the current archaeological record, until around 300,000 years ago, spanning the...

 era, found in the Golan Heights, may have been created by Homo erectus
Homo erectus
Homo erectus is an extinct species of hominid that lived from the end of the Pliocene epoch to the later Pleistocene, about . The species originated in Africa and spread as far as India, China and Java. There is still disagreement on the subject of the classification, ancestry, and progeny of H...

 between 700,000 and 230,000 BCE.

During the 3rd millennium BC
3rd millennium BC
The 3rd millennium BC spans the Early to Middle Bronze Age.It represents a period of time in which imperialism, or the desire to conquer, grew to prominence, in the city states of the Middle East, but also throughout Eurasia, with Indo-European expansion to Anatolia, Europe and Central Asia. The...

 the Amorite
Amorite
Amorite refers to an ancient Semitic people who occupied large parts of Mesopotamia from the 21st Century BC...

s dominated and inhabited the Golan until the 2nd millennium, when the Arameans took over. The Aramaean city state Aram Damascus
Aram Damascus
Aram Damascus was an Aramaean state around Damascus in Syria, from the late 12th century BCE to 734 BCE.Sources for this state come from texts that can be divided into three categories: Assyrian annals, Aramaean texts, and the Hebrew Bible....

 reached over most of Golan to the Sea of Galilee.

According to the Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

, the Children of Israel conquered the Golan from the Amorites. The Bible also says that the area, later known as Bashan
Bashan
Bashan or Basan is a biblical place first mentioned in , where it is said that Chedorlaomer and his confederates "smote the Rephaim in Ashteroth", where Og the king of Bashan had his residence. At the time of Israel's entrance into the Promised Land, Og came out against them, but was utterly routed...

, was inhabited by two Israelite
Israelite
According to the Bible the Israelites were a Hebrew-speaking people of the Ancient Near East who inhabited the Land of Canaan during the monarchic period .The word "Israelite" derives from the Biblical Hebrew ישראל...

 tribes during the time of Joshua
Joshua
Joshua , is a minor figure in the Torah, being one of the spies for Israel and in few passages as Moses's assistant. He turns to be the central character in the Hebrew Bible's Book of Joshua...

, the tribe of Dan
Tribe of Dan
The Tribe of Dan, also sometimes spelled as "Dann", was one of the Tribes of Israel. Though known mostly from biblical sources, they were possibly descendants of the Denyen Sea Peoples who joined with Hebrews...

 and Manasseh
Tribe of Manasseh
According to the Hebrew Bible, the Tribe of Manasseh was one of the Tribes of Israel. Together with the Tribe of Ephraim, Manasseh also formed the House of Joseph....

. The city of Golan
Golan
Golan was a biblical city in Land of Israel. It was in the territory of Manasseh in the Bashan.Golan was the most northerly of the three cities of refuge east of the Jordan River . Manasseh gave this city to the Gershonite Levites .According to the Bible, the Israelites conquered Golan from the...

 was used as a city of refuge. King Solomon appointed ministers in the region.

After the split of the United Monarchy
United Monarchy
According to Biblical tradition, the united Kingdom of Israel was a kingdom that existed in the Land of Israel, a period referred to by scholars as the United Monarchy. Biblical historians date the kingdom from c. 1020 BCE to c...

, the area was contested between the northern Kingdom of Israel and the Aramean kingdom from the 9th century BC. King Ahab
Ahab
Ahab or Ach'av or Achab in Douay-Rheims was king of Israel and the son and successor of Omri according to the Hebrew Bible. His wife was Jezebel....

 of Israel (reigned 874–852 BC) defeated Ben-Hadad I in the southern Golan.

In the 8th century BC the Assyrians
Assyrian people
The Assyrian people are a distinct ethnic group whose origins lie in ancient Mesopotamia...

 gained control of the area, but were later replaced by the Babylonian and the Persian Empire. In the 5th century BC, the Persian Empire allowed the region to be resettled by returning Jewish exiles from Babylonian Captivity
Babylonian captivity
The Babylonian captivity was the period in Jewish history during which the Jews of the ancient Kingdom of Judah were captives in Babylon—conventionally 587–538 BCE....

.

The Golan Heights, along with the rest of the region, came under the control of Alexander the Great in 332 BC, following the Battle of Issus
Battle of Issus
The Battle of Issus occurred in southern Anatolia, in November 333 BC. The invading troops, led by the young Alexander of Macedonia, defeated the army personally led by Darius III of Achaemenid Persia in the second great battle for primacy in Asia...

. Following Alexander's death, the Golan came under the domination of the Macedonian noble Seleucus and remained part of the Seleucid Empire
Seleucid Empire
The Seleucid Empire was a Greek-Macedonian state that was created out of the eastern conquests of Alexander the Great. At the height of its power, it included central Anatolia, the Levant, Mesopotamia, Persia, today's Turkmenistan, Pamir and parts of Pakistan.The Seleucid Empire was a major centre...

 for most of the next two centuries. It is during this period that the name Golan, previously that of a city mentioned in the book of Deuteronomy
Deuteronomy
The Book of Deuteronomy is the fifth book of the Hebrew Bible, and of the Jewish Torah/Pentateuch...

, came to be applied to the entire region (Greek
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

: Gaulanitis).

In the middle of the 2nd century BCE, Itureans
Iturea
Iturea is the Greek name of a region in the Levant during the Late Hellenistic and early Roman periods. It is mentioned only once in the Christian Bible, while in historical sources the name of the people, the Itureans , occurs...

 started living in the Golan. They lived in over 100 locations in the Mount Hermon and Golan region.

The Maccabean Revolt saw much action in the regions around the Golan and it is possible that the Jewish communities of the Golan were among those rescued by Judas Maccabeus
Judas Maccabeus
Judah Maccabee was a Kohen and a son of the Jewish priest Mattathias...

 during his campaign in the Galilee
Galilee
Galilee , is a large region in northern Israel which overlaps with much of the administrative North District of the country. Traditionally divided into Upper Galilee , Lower Galilee , and Western Galilee , extending from Dan to the north, at the base of Mount Hermon, along Mount Lebanon to the...

 and Gilead
Gilead
In the Bible "Gilead" means hill of testimony or mound of witness, , a mountainous region east of the Jordan River, situated in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. It is also referred to by the Aramaic name Yegar-Sahadutha, which carries the same meaning as the Hebrew . From its mountainous character...

 (Transjordan
Transjordan
The Emirate of Transjordan was a former Ottoman territory in the Southern Levant that was part of the British Mandate of Palestine...

) mentioned in Chapter 5 of 1 Maccabees
1 Maccabees
The First book of Maccabees is a book written in Hebrew by a Jewish author after the restoration of an independent Jewish kingdom, about the latter part of the 2nd century BC. The original Hebrew is lost and the most important surviving version is the Greek translation contained in the Septuagint...

. The Golan, however, remained in Seleucid hands until the campaign of Alexander Jannaeus
Alexander Jannaeus
Alexander Jannaeus was king of Judea from 103 BC to 76 BC. The son of John Hyrcanus, he inherited the throne from his brother Aristobulus I, and appears to have married his brother's widow, Shlomtzion or "Shelomit", also known as Salome Alexandra, according to the Biblical law of Yibbum...

 from 83–80 BC. Jannaeus established the city of Gamla
Gamla
Gamla was an ancient Jewish city in the Golan Heights. Inhabited since the Early Bronze Age, it is believed to have been founded as a Seleucid fort during the Syrian Wars. The site of a Roman siege during the Great Revolt of the 1st century CE, Gamla is a symbol of heroism for the modern state of...

 in 81 BC as the Hasmonean
Hasmonean
The Hasmonean dynasty , was the ruling dynasty of Judea and surrounding regions during classical antiquity. Between c. 140 and c. 116 BCE, the dynasty ruled semi-autonomously from the Seleucids in the region of Judea...

 capital for the region.

During the Roman
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 and Byzantine
Byzantine
Byzantine usually refers to the Roman Empire during the Middle Ages.Byzantine may also refer to:* A citizen of the Byzantine Empire, or native Greek during the Middle Ages...

 periods the area was administered as part of Phoenicia Prima
Phoenicia
Phoenicia , was an ancient civilization in Canaan which covered most of the western, coastal part of the Fertile Crescent. Several major Phoenician cities were built on the coastline of the Mediterranean. It was an enterprising maritime trading culture that spread across the Mediterranean from 1550...

 and Syria Palaestina
Syria Palaestina
Syria Palæstina was a Roman province between 135CE and 390CE. It had been established by the merge of Roman Syria and Roman Judaea, following the defeat of the Bar Kokhba Revolt in 135 CE. In 193 Syria-Coele was split to form a separate provincial locality...

, and finally Golan/Gaulanitis was included together with Peraea
Perea (Holy Land)
Perea , a portion of the kingdom of Herod the Great occupying the eastern side of the Jordan River valley, from about one third the way down from the Sea of Galilee to about one third the way down the eastern shore of the Dead Sea; it did not extend too far inland...

 in Palaestina Secunda, after 218 AD
Anno Domini
and Before Christ are designations used to label or number years used with the Julian and Gregorian calendars....

. Ancient kingdom Bashan was incorporated into the province of Batanea.

Following the death of Herod the Great
Herod the Great
Herod , also known as Herod the Great , was a Roman client king of Judea. His epithet of "the Great" is widely disputed as he is described as "a madman who murdered his own family and a great many rabbis." He is also known for his colossal building projects in Jerusalem and elsewhere, including his...

 in 4 BC, Augustus Caesar adjudicated that the Golan fell within the Tetrarchy
Tetrarchy
The term Tetrarchy describes any system of government where power is divided among four individuals, but usually refers to the tetrarchy instituted by Roman Emperor Diocletian in 293, marking the end of the Crisis of the Third Century and the recovery of the Roman Empire...

 of Herod's son, Herod Philip I. After Philip's death in 34 AD, the Romans
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 absorbed the Golan into the province of Syria
Syria (Roman province)
Syria was a Roman province, annexed in 64 BC by Pompey, as a consequence of his military presence after pursuing victory in the Third Mithridatic War. It remained under Roman, and subsequently Byzantine, rule for seven centuries, until 637 when it fell to the Islamic conquests.- Principate :The...

, but Caligula
Caligula
Caligula , also known as Gaius, was Roman Emperor from 37 AD to 41 AD. Caligula was a member of the house of rulers conventionally known as the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Caligula's father Germanicus, the nephew and adopted son of Emperor Tiberius, was a very successful general and one of Rome's most...

 restored the territory to Herod's grandson Agrippa
Agrippa I
Agrippa I also known as Herod Agrippa or simply Herod , King of the Jews, was the grandson of Herod the Great, and son of Aristobulus IV and Berenice. His original name was Marcus Julius Agrippa, so named in honour of Roman statesman Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, and he is the king named Herod in the...

 in 37. Following Agrippa's death in 44, the Romans again annexed the Golan to Syria, promptly to return it again when Claudius
Claudius
Claudius , was Roman Emperor from 41 to 54. A member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, he was the son of Drusus and Antonia Minor. He was born at Lugdunum in Gaul and was the first Roman Emperor to be born outside Italy...

 traded the Golan to Agrippa II
Agrippa II
Agrippa II , son of Agrippa I, and like him originally named Marcus Julius Agrippa, was the seventh and last king of the family of Herod the Great, thus last of the Herodians. He was the brother of Berenice, Mariamne, and Drusilla...

, the son of Agrippa I, in 51 as part of a land swap.
Although nominally under Agrippa's control and not part of the province of Judea
Judea
Judea or Judæa was the name of the mountainous southern part of the historic Land of Israel from the 8th century BCE to the 2nd century CE, when Roman Judea was renamed Syria Palaestina following the Jewish Bar Kokhba revolt.-Etymology:The...

, the Jewish communities of the Golan joined their coreligionists in the First Jewish-Roman War
First Jewish-Roman War
The First Jewish–Roman War , sometimes called The Great Revolt , was the first of three major rebellions by the Jews of Judaea Province , against the Roman Empire...

, only to fall to the Roman armies in its early stages. Gamla
Gamla
Gamla was an ancient Jewish city in the Golan Heights. Inhabited since the Early Bronze Age, it is believed to have been founded as a Seleucid fort during the Syrian Wars. The site of a Roman siege during the Great Revolt of the 1st century CE, Gamla is a symbol of heroism for the modern state of...

 was captured in 67; according to Josephus
Josephus
Titus Flavius Josephus , also called Joseph ben Matityahu , was a 1st-century Romano-Jewish historian and hagiographer of priestly and royal ancestry who recorded Jewish history, with special emphasis on the 1st century AD and the First Jewish–Roman War, which resulted in the Destruction of...

, its inhabitants committed mass suicide, preferring it to crucifixion
Crucifixion
Crucifixion is an ancient method of painful execution in which the condemned person is tied or nailed to a large wooden cross and left to hang until dead...

 and slavery. Agrippa II contributed soldiers to the Roman war effort and attempted to negotiate an end to the revolt. In return for his loyalty, Rome allowed him to retain his kingdom, but finally absorbed the Golan for good after his death in 100.

In about 250, the Ghassanids
Ghassanids
The Ghassanids were a group of South Arabian Christian tribes that emigrated in the early 3rd century from Yemen to Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and the Holy Land....

, Arab Christians from Yemen
Yemen
The Republic of Yemen , commonly known as Yemen , is a country located in the Middle East, occupying the southwestern to southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, and Oman to the east....

, established a kingdom which encompassed southern Syria and the Transjordan, building their capital at Jabiyah on the Golan. Like the later Herodians, the Ghassanids ruled as clients of Byzantine Rome; unlike the Herodians, the Ghassanids were able to hold on to the Golan until the Sassanid invasion of 614. Following a brief restoration under the Emperor Heraclius
Heraclius
Heraclius was Byzantine Emperor from 610 to 641.He was responsible for introducing Greek as the empire's official language. His rise to power began in 608, when he and his father, Heraclius the Elder, the exarch of Africa, successfully led a revolt against the unpopular usurper Phocas.Heraclius'...

, the Golan again fell, this time to the invading Arabs after the Battle of Yarmouk
Battle of Yarmouk
The Battle of Yarmouk was a major battle between the Muslim Arab forces of the Rashidun Caliphate and the armies of the East Roman-Byzantine Empire. The battle consisted of a series of engagements that lasted for six days in August 636, near the Yarmouk River, along what is today the border...

 in 636.

Middle Ages


After Yarmouk, Muawiyah I
Muawiyah I
Muawiyah I was the first Caliph of the Umayyad Dynasty. After the conquest of Mecca by the Muslims, Muawiyah's family converted to Islam. Muawiyah is brother-in-law to Muhammad who married his sister Ramlah bint Abi-Sufyan in 1AH...

, a member of Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

's tribe, the Quraish, was appointed governor of Syria, including the Golan. Following the assassination of his cousin, the Caliph
Caliph
The Caliph is the head of state in a Caliphate, and the title for the ruler of the Islamic Ummah, an Islamic community ruled by the Shari'ah. It is a transcribed version of the Arabic word   which means "successor" or "representative"...

 Uthman
Uthman
Uthman ibn Affan was one of the companions of Islamic prophet, Muhammad. He played a major role in early Islamic history as the third Sunni Rashidun or Rightly Guided Caliph....

, Muawiya claimed the Caliphate for himself, initiating the Umayyad
Umayyad
The Umayyad Caliphate was the second of the four major Arab caliphates established after the death of Muhammad. It was ruled by the Umayyad dynasty, whose name derives from Umayya ibn Abd Shams, the great-grandfather of the first Umayyad caliph. Although the Umayyad family originally came from the...

 dynasty. Over the next few centuries, while remaining in Muslim hands, the Golan passed through many dynastic changes, falling first to the Abbasids, then to the Shi'ite Fatimids, then to the Seljuk Turks, then to the Kurdish
Kurdish people
The Kurdish people, or Kurds , are an Iranian people native to the Middle East, mostly inhabiting a region known as Kurdistan, which includes adjacent parts of Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey...

 Ayyubids. During the Crusades
Crusades
The Crusades were a series of religious wars, blessed by the Pope and the Catholic Church with the main goal of restoring Christian access to the holy places in and near Jerusalem...

, the Heights represented a formidable obstacle the Crusader armies were not able to conquer, and the area was a part of the Emirate of Damascus during this time. The Mongols
Mongols
Mongols ) are a Central-East Asian ethnic group that lives mainly in the countries of Mongolia, China, and Russia. In China, ethnic Mongols can be found mainly in the central north region of China such as Inner Mongolia...

 swept through in 1259, but were driven off by the Mamluk
Mamluk
A Mamluk was a soldier of slave origin, who were predominantly Cumans/Kipchaks The "mamluk phenomenon", as David Ayalon dubbed the creation of the specific warrior...

 sultan
Sultan
Sultan is a title with several historical meanings. Originally, it was an Arabic language abstract noun meaning "strength", "authority", "rulership", and "dictatorship", derived from the masdar سلطة , meaning "authority" or "power". Later, it came to be used as the title of certain rulers who...

 Qutuz
Qutuz
Saif ad-Din Qutuz, also spelled Kutuz, was the third of the Mamluk Sultans of Egypt in the Turkic line from 1259 until his death in 1260. It was under his leadership that the Mamluks achieved success against the Mongols in the key Battle of Ain Jalut...

 at the Battle of Ain Jalut
Battle of Ain Jalut
The Battle of Ain Jalut took place on 3 September 1260 between Mamluks and the Mongols in eastern Galilee, in the Jezreel Valley, not far from Ein Harod....

 in 1260. Ain Jalut ensured Mamluk dominance of the region for the next 250 years. For many centuries nomadic tribes lived together with the sedentary population in the region. At times, the central government attempted to settle the nomads which would result in the establishment of permanent communities. When the power of the governing regime declined, as happened during the early Muslim period, nomadic trends increased and many of the rural and agricultural villages were abandoned due to harassment from the Bedouins. They were not resettled until the second half of the 19th century.

Ottoman era


In the 16th century, the Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 Turks came to control Syria. During this time, the Golan formed part of the southern district of their empire. Some Druze communities were established in the Golan during the 17th and 18th centuries. In 1868 it was reported that the region was "almost entirely desolate". A travel handbook noted that from a list of 127 ancient towns and villages which were spread across the Golan province in former times, only 11 were inhabited. As a result of the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78, there was a huge influx of refugees from the Caucasus
Caucasus
The Caucasus, also Caucas or Caucasia , is a geopolitical region at the border of Europe and Asia, and situated between the Black and the Caspian sea...

 into the empire. The Ottomans directed them to settle in southern Syria, particularly on the Golan Heights and granted them lands with a 12 year tax exemption.

In 1884 there were still open stretches of uncultivated land between villages in the lower Golan, but by the mid-1890s most was owned and had been cultivated. Some land had been purchased in the Golan and Hawran by Zionist associations based in Romania, Bulgaria, the USA and England, in the late 19th century and early 20th century. In 1880, Laurence Oliphant
Laurence Oliphant
Laurence Oliphant was a British author, traveller, diplomat, and mystic. Best known for his 1870 satirical novel Piccadilly, he spent a decade in later life under the influence of the spiritualist prophet Thomas Lake Harris....

 published Eretz ha-Gilad (The Land of Gilead
Gilead
In the Bible "Gilead" means hill of testimony or mound of witness, , a mountainous region east of the Jordan River, situated in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. It is also referred to by the Aramaic name Yegar-Sahadutha, which carries the same meaning as the Hebrew . From its mountainous character...

), which described a plan for large scale Jewish settlement in the Golan, but the Turks snubbed the scheme. In 1886, members of the old yishuv
Old Yishuv
The Old Yishuv refers to the Jewish community that lived in the Land of Israel from the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE to the First Aliyah in 1881-82, prior to the onset of Zionist immigration....

 in Safed
Safed
Safed , is a city in the Northern District of Israel. Located at an elevation of , Safed is the highest city in the Galilee and of Israel. Due to its high elevation, Safed experiences warm summers and cold, often snowy, winters...

 formed the Bet Yehuda Society and purchased 14,000 dunams of land near the circassian village of Ramthaniya, in the central Golan. But due to financial hardships and the long wait for a kushan (Ottoman land deed) the village, Golan be-Bashan, was abandoned after a year. Soon afterwards, the society regrouped and purchased land in the nearby Bedouin village of Bir Shaqum in the southern Golan. The village they established, Bnei Yehuda
Bnei Yehuda, Golan Heights
Bnei Yehuda is an Israeli settlement, moshav, located in the southern Golan Heights, under the administration of Israel. The moshav was built in 1972. It falls under the municipal jurisdiction of the Golan Regional Council...

, survived until 1920 when the last remaining inhabitants left following a Arab attack. In 1944 the JNF bought the Bnei Yehuda lands from their Jewish owners, but subsequently lost a lawsuit with the Arabs of Bir Shaqum regarding the Jewish ownership of the land.

Between 1891 and 1894, Baron Edmond James de Rothschild
Edmond James de Rothschild
Baron Edmond Benjamin James de Rothschild was a French member of the Rothschild banking family. A strong supporter of Zionism, his generous donations lent significant support to the movement during its early years, which helped lead to the establishment of the State of Israel.- Early years :A...

 purchased nearly 80,000 dunams (30 miles sq.) of land consisting of 16 villages in southern Syria for Jewish settlement. Most of the land was situated in the eastern Golan and now lies a few kilometres from the 1967 lines, inside Syrian controlled territory. The parcels of land straddled both sides of the Nahr al-Allan. Over the years attempts to settle these lands was only partly successful and it remained sparsely populated by Jews. The Russian Agudat Achim Association acquired land in several locations in the districts of Fiq
Fiq, Syria
Fiq is a former Syrian town administratively belonging to Al Quneitra Governorate, located in the Golan Heights. Residing at an altitude of , the Israeli settlement, kibbutz, Afik was built close by. , Fiq had a population of 2,769 , but has since declined....

 and Daraa and at Jillin where a farm was built and extensive eucalyptus
Eucalyptus
Eucalyptus is a diverse genus of flowering trees in the myrtle family, Myrtaceae. Members of the genus dominate the tree flora of Australia...

 groves were planted. The Jews also managed to build a road stretching from Lake Hula to Muzayrib. A village called Tiferet Binyamin was set up on lands at Saham el-Jolan by the Shavei Zion Association based in New York, but the project was abandoned after a year when the Turks issued an edit in 1896 evicting the 17 non-Turkish families. A later attempt to resettle the land with Syrian Jews, Turkish citizens, also failed. In 1899, the Pasha of Damascus expelled the Jews from all of Rothschild's estates. Between 1904–08, a group of Crimean Jews settled in the Bethsaida
Al-Butayha
Al-Butayha was a Palestinian Arab village in the District of Safad. It was depopulated during the 1947–1948 Civil War in Mandatory Palestine on May 4, 1948 by the Palmach's First Battalion of Operation Matate. It was located 13 km southeast of Safad, quarter of a mile east of the Jordan River...

 Valley, initially as tenants of a Kurdish proprietor with the prospects of purchasing the land, but the arrangement faltered. Jewish settlement in the region peated out over time, either due to Arab hostility and Turkish bureaucracy, disease or economic difficulties. In 1921–1930, during the French Mandate, the Palestine Jewish Colonization Association
Palestine Jewish Colonization Association
The Palestine Jewish Colonization Association, commonly known by its Hebrew acronym PICA , was established in 1924 and played a major role in supporting the Yishuv in Palestine until its disbandment in 1957....

 (PJCA) obtained the deeds to the Rothschild estate and continued to manage it, collecting rents from the Arab peasants living there. In 1944, the Syrian Land Settlement Campaign refused to recognize the foreign owned PJCA as the legal owners of the land and the Syrian government confiscated it without compensation on the grounds that "it was contrary to Syrian policy to allow Jews to own land in Syria." The JNF still lays claim to the land.

Mandates



Great Britain accepted a Mandate for Palestine at the meeting of the Allied Supreme Council at San Remo, but the borders of the territory were not defined at that stage. The boundary between the forthcoming British and French mandates was defined in broad terms by the Franco-British Boundary Agreement
Franco-British Boundary Agreement (1920)
The Franco-British Boundary Agreement of 1920, properly called the Franco-British Convention on Certain Points Connected with the Mandates for Syria and the Lebanon, Palestine and Mesopotamia, was an agreement signed between the British and French governments in Paris, on 23 December 1920...

 of December 1920. That agreement placed the bulk of the Golan Heights in the French sphere. The treaty also established a joint commission to settle the precise details of the border and mark it on the ground. The commission submitted its final report on February 3, 1922, and it was approved with some caveats by the British and French governments on March 7, 1923, several months before Britain and France assumed their Mandatory responsibilities on 29 September 1923. In accordance with the same process, a nearby parcel of land that included the ancient site of Tel Dan and the Dan spring
Dan River (Israel)
The Dan River is the largest tributary of the Jordan river, whose source is located at the base of Mount Hermon. The river is so named after the Israelite city of Dan, which was captured by the Tribe of Dan during the Judges period. The tribe of Dan conquered the city, then named Laish and then...

 were transferred from Syria to Palestine early in 1924. The Golan Heights, including the spring at Wazzani
Wazzani
Al Wazzani , also known as Arab Louaize, is a small Lebanese village in the Hasbaya District of the Nabatieh Governorate, just north of the Israel-Lebanon border, on the banks of the Hasbani River. The village is located about 1 km from the Wazzani Spring, a major source of the Hasbani, which...

 and the one at Banias
Banias
Banias is an archaeological site by the ancient city of Caesarea Philippi, located at the foot of Mount Hermon in the Golan Heights...

, thus became part of the French Mandate of Syria
French Mandate of Syria
Officially the French Mandate for Syria and the Lebanon was a League of Nations mandate founded after the First World War and the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire...

, while the Sea of Galilee was placed entirely within the British Mandate of Palestine. When the French Mandate of Syria ended in 1944, the Golan Heights became part of the newly independent state of Syria and was later incorporated into Quneitra Governorate.

Border incidents after 1948


After the 1948–49 Arab-Israeli War
1948 Arab-Israeli War
The 1948 Arab–Israeli War, known to Israelis as the War of Independence or War of Liberation The war commenced after the termination of the British Mandate for Palestine and the creation of an independent Israel at midnight on 14 May 1948 when, following a period of civil war, Arab armies invaded...

, the Golan Heights were partly demilitarised by the Israel-Syria Armistice Agreement
1949 Armistice Agreements
The 1949 Armistice Agreements are a set of agreements signed during 1949 between Israel and neighboring Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria. The agreements ended the official hostilities of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, and established armistice lines between Israeli forces and the forces in...

. During the following years, the area along the border witnessed thousands of violent incidents; the armistice agreement was being violated by both sides. The underlying causes of the conflict were a disagreement over the legal status of the demilitarised zone (DMZ), cultivation of land within it and competition over water resources. Syria claimed that neither party had sovereignty over the DMZ. Israel contented that the Armistice Agreement dealt solely with military concerns and that she had political and legal rights over the DMZ. Israel wanted to assert control up till the 1923 boundary in order to reclaim the Hula swamp, gain exclusive rights to Lake Galilee and divert water from the Jordan for its National Water Carrier
National Water Carrier of Israel
The National Water Carrier of Israel is the largest water project in Israel. Its main task is to transfer water from the Sea of Galilee in the north of the country to the highly populated center and arid south and to enable efficient use of water and regulation of the water supply in the country...

. During 1950s, Syria registered two principal territorial accomplishments: it took over Al-Hammah enclosure south of Lake Tiberias and established a de-facto presence on and control of eastern shore of the lake.

Attempt by Israel and Syria to divert water from the Jordan River and its tributaries in the 1950s and 60s sparked a series of military exchanges
The War over Water
The "War over Water" , also the Battle over Water , refers to a series of confrontations between Israel and its Arab neighbors from November 1964 to May 1967 over control of available water sources in the Jordan River drainage basin.-History:The 1949 Armistice Agreements which followed the 1948...

 in July 1966. Fatah
Fatah
Fataḥ is a major Palestinian political party and the largest faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization , a multi-party confederation. In Palestinian politics it is on the left-wing of the spectrum; it is mainly nationalist, although not predominantly socialist. Its official goals are found...

 began raids into Israeli territory in early 1965, with active support from Syria. At first the militants entered via Lebanon or Jordan, but those countries made concerted attempts to stop them and raids directly from Syria increased. Israel's response was a series of retaliatory raids, of which the largest were an attack on the Jordanian village of Samu in November 1966. In April 1967, after Syria heavily shelled Israeli villages from the Golan Heights, Israel shot down six Syrian MiG
Mig
-Industry:*MiG, now Mikoyan, a Russian aircraft corporation, formerly the Mikoyan-Gurevich Design Bureau*Metal inert gas welding or MIG welding, a type of welding using an electric arc and a shielding gas-Business and finance:...

 fighter planes and warned Syria against future attacks.

In the period between Israel’s War of Independence (1948) and the Six Day War (1967), the Syrians constantly harassed Israeli border communities by firing artillery shells from their dominant positions on the Golan Heights. In October 1966 Israel brought the matter up before the United Nations. Five nations sponsored a resolution criticizing Syria for its actions but it failed to pass due to a Soviet veto.

Former Israeli General Mattityahu Peled
Mattityahu Peled
Mattityahu "Matti" Peled was a well-known Israeli public figure who was at various periods of his life a professional military man who reached the rank of Aluf in the IDF and was a member of the General Staff during the Six Day War of 1967; a notable scholar who headed the Arabic Language and...

 said that more than half of the border clashes before the 1967 war "were a result of our security policy of maximum settlement in the demilitarised area." Israeli incursions into the zone were responded to with Syrians shooting. Israel in turn would retaliate with military force.
Sir Alec Douglas-Home
Alec Douglas-Home
Alexander Frederick Douglas-Home, Baron Home of the Hirsel, KT, PC , known as The Earl of Home from 1951 to 1963 and as Sir Alec Douglas-Home from 1963 to 1974, was a British Conservative politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from October 1963 to October 1964.He is the last...

, former Prime Minister of the UK, stated that when he was visiting the Galilee a few months before the 1967 war "at regular intervals the Russian-built forts on the Golan Heights used to lob shells into the villages, often claiming civilian casualties." He said after the 1973 war that any agreement between the two sides "must clearly put a stop the that kind of offensive action."

In 1976, Israeli defense minister Moshe Dayan
Moshe Dayan
Moshe Dayan was an Israeli military leader and politician. The fourth Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces , he became a fighting symbol to the world of the new State of Israel...

 said that Israel provoked more than 80% of the clashes with Syria, although historians have voiced skepticism regarding the truthfulness of this informal comment. Jan Mühren, a former UN observer in the area at the time, told a Dutch current affairs programme that Israel provoked most border incidents as part of its strategy to annex more land.

Israeli occupation since 1967


After the Six-Day War broke out in June 1967, Syria's shelling greatly intensified and the Israeli army
Israel Defense Forces
The Israel Defense Forces , commonly known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym Tzahal , are the military forces of the State of Israel. They consist of the ground forces, air force and navy. It is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces, and has no civilian jurisdiction within Israel...

 captured the Golan Heights on 9–10 June. The area which came under Israeli control as a result of the war is two geologically distinct areas: the Golan Heights proper 1070 square kilometres (413.1 sq mi) and the slopes of the Mt. Hermon range 100 square kilometres (38.6 sq mi). The new boundary between the two forces was named the Purple Line. In the battle, Israel lost 115 men, with another 306 wounded. An estimated 2,500 Syrians were killed, with another 5,000 wounded.

During the war, between 80,000 and 131,000 Arab Druze and Circassians fled or were driven from the heights and around 7,000 remained in the Israeli-occupied territory. Israel has not allowed former residents to return, citing security reasons. Israeli settlement in the Golan began soon after the war. Merom Golan
Merom Golan
Merom Golan is an Israeli settlement and a kibbutz in the northern Golan Heights which lies in the municipal territory of the Golan Regional Council...

 was founded in July 1967 and by 1970 there were 12 settlements. Israeli sources and the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants
U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants
The U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants is an international advocacy and domestic refugee resettlement organization, headquartered in Washington, DC...

 reported that much of the local population of 100,000 fled as a result of the war, whereas the Syrian government stated that a large proportion of it was expelled.

In the 1970s, Israeli politician Yigal Allon
Yigal Allon
Yigal Allon was an Israeli politician, a commander of the Palmach, and a general in the IDF. He served as one of the leaders of Ahdut HaAvoda party and the Israeli Labor party, and acting Prime Minister of Israel, and was a member of the Knesset and government minister from the 10th through the...

 proposed as part of the Allon Plan
Allon Plan
The Allon Plan was an Israeli proposal of the late 1960s to partition the West Bank, captured from Jordan in the Six-Day War of June 1967, between Israel and Jordan...

 that a Druze state be established in Syria's Quneitra Governorate, including the Israeli-held Golan Heights. Allon died in 1980 and his plan never materialised.

Yom Kippur War


During the Yom Kippur War
Yom Kippur War
The Yom Kippur War, Ramadan War or October War , also known as the 1973 Arab-Israeli War and the Fourth Arab-Israeli War, was fought from October 6 to 25, 1973, between Israel and a coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria...

 in 1973, Syrian forces overran much of the southern Golan, before being pushed back by an Israeli counterattack. Israel and Syria signed a ceasefire agreement in 1974 that left almost all the Heights in Israeli hands. East of the 1974 ceasefire line lies the Syrian controlled part of the Heights, an area that was not captured by Israel 500 square kilometres (193.1 sq mi) or withdrawn from 100 square kilometres (38.6 sq mi). This area forms 30% of the Golan Heights. Today it contains more than 40 Syrian towns and villages. In 1975, following the 1974 ceasefire agreement, Israel returned a narrow demilitarised zone to Syrian control. Some of the displaced residents began returning to their homes located in this strip and the Syrian government began helping people rebuild their villages, except for Quneitra
Quneitra
Quneitra is the largely destroyed and abandoned capital of the Quneitra Governorate in south-western Syria. It is situated in a high valley in the Golan Heights at an elevation of 1,010 metres above sea level...

. In the mid-1980s the Syrian government launched a plan called "The Project for the Reconstruction of the Liberated Villages". By the end of 2007, the population of the Quneitra Governorate was estimated at 79,000.

Mines deployed by the Syrian army remain active. Since 1973, there have been at least 216 landmine casualties in the Syrian-controlled Golan, of which 108 were fatalities.

Israeli civil administration since 1981


The Golan Heights had been under military administration since 1967. In 1981, Israel passed the Golan Heights Law, which applied Israeli "laws, jurisdiction and administration" to the Golan Heights. Although the law in effect annexed the territory to Israel, it was not formally annexed. The area was administered as part of Israel’s North District
North District (Israel)
The Northern District is one of Israel's six administrative districts. The Northern District has a land area of 4,478 km², which increases to 4,638  km² when both land and water are included...

.

Israel's action was not recognised internationally and United Nations Security Council Resolution 242
United Nations Security Council Resolution 242
United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 was adopted unanimously by the UN Security Council on November 22, 1967, in the aftermath of the Six Day War. It was adopted under Chapter VIof the United Nations Charter...

 which declared the Golan Heights an Israeli occupied territory
Israeli-occupied territories
The Israeli-occupied territories are the territories which have been designated as occupied territory by the United Nations and other international organizations, governments and others to refer to the territory seized by Israel during the Six-Day War of 1967 from Egypt, Jordan, and Syria...

 continues to apply. Israel maintains that it may retain the area as the text of Resolution 242 calls for "safe and recognised boundaries free from threats or acts of force".

During the negotiations regarding the text of United Nations Security Council resolution 242, U.S. Secretary of State Rusk explained that U.S. support for secure permanent frontiers did not mean the US supported territorial changes. The U.N. representative for Great Britain was responsible for negotiating and drafting the Security Council resolution said that the actions of the Israeli Government in establishing settlements and colonizing the Golan are in clear defiance of Resolution 242.

Syria continued to demand a full Israeli withdrawal to the June 4, 1967 borders, including a strip of land on the east shore of the Sea of Galilee
Sea of Galilee
The Sea of Galilee, also Kinneret, Lake of Gennesaret, or Lake Tiberias , is the largest freshwater lake in Israel, and it is approximately in circumference, about long, and wide. The lake has a total area of , and a maximum depth of approximately 43 m...

 that Syria captured during the 1948–49 Arab-Israeli War and occupied from 1949–67. Successive Israeli governments have considered an Israeli withdrawal from the Golan in return for normalization of relations with Syria, provided certain security concerns are met. Prior to 2000, Syrian president Hafez al-Assad
Hafez al-Assad
Hafez ibn 'Ali ibn Sulayman al-Assad or more commonly Hafez al-Assad was the President of Syria for three decades. Assad's rule consolidated the power of the central government after decades of coups and counter-coups, such as Operation Wappen in 1957 conducted by the Eisenhower administration and...

 rejected normalization with Israel.

Peace negotiations



During United States–brokered negotiations in 1999–2000, Israel and Syria discussed a peace deal that would include Israeli withdrawal in return for a comprehensive peace structure, recognition and full normalization of relations. The disagreement in the final stages of the talks was on access to the Sea of Galilee. Israel offered to withdraw to the pre-1948 border (the 1923 Paulet-Newcombe line), while Syria insisted on the 1967 frontier. The former line has never been recognised by Syria, claiming it was imposed by the colonial powers, while the latter was rejected by Israel as the result of Syrian aggression. The difference between the lines is less than 100 m for the most part, but the 1967 line would give Syria access to the Sea of Galilee, and Israel wished retain control of the Sea of Galilee, its only freshwater lake and a major water resource.

In late 2003, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said he was ready to revive peace talks with Israel. Israel demanded Syria first disarm Hezbollah, which launched many attacks on northern Israeli towns and army posts from Lebanese territory, and cease to host militant Palestinian groups and their headquarters. Talks were not initiated.

2006 Israel–Lebanon conflict


After the 2006 war
2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict
The 2006 Lebanon War, also called the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah War and known in Lebanon as the July War #Other uses|Tammūz]]) and in Israel as the Second Lebanon War , was a 34-day military conflict in Lebanon, northern Israel and the Israeli-occupied territories. The principal parties were Hezbollah...

 between Israel and Syrian–Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

ian-backed Hezbollah guerrillas, the issue of the Golan Heights arose again. Israel heightened its alert over a possible war with Syria after Israeli intelligence assessed that Syria was "seriously examining" military action. Syria reinforced its forces on the Golan while remaining in a defensive position. President Assad stated that Syria was prepared to hold peace talks with Israel but said that if hopes for peace dissolve then "war may really be the only solution". Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert dismissed calls within his coalition to consider peace talks and proclaimed that "the Golan Heights will remain in our hands forever".
Others, including cabinet minister Shimon Peres
Shimon Peres
GCMG is the ninth President of the State of Israel. Peres served twice as the eighth Prime Minister of Israel and once as Interim Prime Minister, and has been a member of 12 cabinets in a political career spanning over 66 years...

 and Ehud Olmert's spokesman Assaf Shariv doubted Assad's sincerity and suggested that Assad's statements were a bid at deflecting international criticism of his regime and specifically explaining that the alleged approach by Assad "is coming in the weeks before the decision on Rafik Hariri
Rafik Hariri
Rafic Baha El Deen Al-Hariri , was a business tycoon and the Prime Minister of Lebanon from 1992 to 1998 and again from 2000 until his resignation, 20 October 2004.He headed five cabinets during his tenure...

", referring to the international inquiry on the murder of the former Lebanese prime minister.

Peace proposals


In June 2007, it was reported that Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Israel
The Prime Minister of Israel is the head of the Israeli government and the most powerful political figure in Israel . The prime minister is the country's chief executive. The official residence of the prime minister, Beit Rosh Hamemshala is in Jerusalem...

 Ehud Olmert
Ehud Olmert
Ehud Olmert is an Israeli politician and lawyer. He served as Prime Minister of Israel from 2006 to 2009, as a Cabinet Minister from 1988 to 1992 and from 2003 to 2006, and as Mayor of Jerusalem from 1993 to 2003....

 had sent a secret message to Syrian President, Bashar Assad saying that Israel would concede the land in exchange for a comprehensive peace agreement and the severing of Syria's ties with Iran and militant groups in the region. On the same day, former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Benjamin Netanyahu
Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu is the current Prime Minister of Israel. He serves also as the Chairman of the Likud Party, as a Knesset member, as the Health Minister of Israel, as the Pensioner Affairs Minister of Israel and as the Economic Strategy Minister of Israel.Netanyahu is the first and, to...

 announced that the former Syrian President, Hafez Assad, had promised to let Israel retain Mount Hermon
Mount Hermon
Mount Hermon is a mountain cluster in the Anti-Lebanon mountain range. Its summit straddles the border between Syria and Lebanon and, at 2,814 m above sea level, is the highest point in Syria. On the top there is “Hermon Hotel”, in the buffer zone between Syria and Israeli-occupied...

 in any future agreement.

In April 2008, Syrian media reported Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been Prime Minister of Turkey since 2003 and is chairman of the ruling Justice and Development Party , which holds a majority of the seats in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey. Erdoğan served as Mayor of Istanbul from 1994 to 1998. He graduated in 1981 from Marmara...

 told President Bashar al-Assad that Israel would withdraw from the Golan Heights in return for peace. Israeli leaders of communities in the Golan Heights held a special meeting and stated: "all construction and development projects in the Golan are going ahead as planned, propelled by the certainty that any attempt to harm Israeli sovereignty in the Golan will cause severe damage to state security and thus is doomed to fail".
That year, a plenary session of the United Nations General Assembly
United Nations General Assembly
For two articles dealing with membership in the General Assembly, see:* General Assembly members* General Assembly observersThe United Nations General Assembly is one of the five principal organs of the United Nations and the only one in which all member nations have equal representation...

 passed a resolution 161–1 in favour of a motion on the Golan Heights that reaffirmed Security Council resolution 497 and called on Israel to desist from "changing the physical character, demographic composition, institutional structure and legal status of the occupied Syrian Golan and, in particular, to desist from the establishment of settlements [and] from imposing Israeli citizenship and Israeli identity cards on the Syrian citizens in the occupied Syrian Golan and from its repressive measures against the population of the occupied Syrian Golan." Israel was the only nation to vote against the resolution. Indirect talks broke down after the Gaza War began. Syria broke off the talks to protest Israeli military operations. Israel subsequently appealed to Turkey to resume mediation.

In May 2009, Prime Minister Netanyahu said that returning the Golan Heights would turn it into "Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

's front lines which will threaten the whole state of Israel." He said: "I remember the Golan Heights without Katzrin, and suddenly we see a thriving city in the Land of Israel
Land of Israel
The Land of Israel is the Biblical name for the territory roughly corresponding to the area encompassed by the Southern Levant, also known as Canaan and Palestine, Promised Land and Holy Land. The belief that the area is a God-given homeland of the Jewish people is based on the narrative of the...

, which having been a gem of the Second Temple
Second Temple
The Jewish Second Temple was an important shrine which stood on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem between 516 BCE and 70 CE. It replaced the First Temple which was destroyed in 586 BCE, when the Jewish nation was exiled to Babylon...

 era has been revived anew." American diplomat Martin Indyk
Martin Indyk
Martin Sean Indyk is Vice President and Director for Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. Indyk served as United States ambassador to Israel and Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs during the Clinton Administration. He is known as the framer of the U.S...

 said that the 1999–2000 round of negotiations began during Netanyahu's first term (1996–1999), and he was not as hardline as he made out.

In March 2009, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad claimed in a newspaper interview that indirect talks had failed after Israel failed to make a commitment to withdraw from all of the Golan Heights. In an August 2009 speech during Army Day, he said that the return of the entire Golan Heights was "non-negotiable", and said that it would remain "fully Arab", and would be returned to Syria.

In June 2009, Israeli President Shimon Peres
Shimon Peres
GCMG is the ninth President of the State of Israel. Peres served twice as the eighth Prime Minister of Israel and once as Interim Prime Minister, and has been a member of 12 cabinets in a political career spanning over 66 years...

 said that Syrian President Assad would have to negotiate without preconditions, and that Syria would not get any territorial concessions from Israel on a "silver platter" as long as it maintained ties with Iran and Hezbollah. In response, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem
Walid Muallem
Walid al Muallem is the current Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates for Syria, and a long-time diplomat for that country.-Early life, education and career:...

 demanded that Israel unconditionally cede the Golan Heights "on a silver platter" without any preconditions, adding that " it is our land", and blamed Israel for failing to commit to peace. Syrian President Assad claimed that there was "no real partner in Israel".

In 2010, Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman told Syria to abandon its dreams of recovering the Golan Heights, just as it relinquished its dream of conquering Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

.

Territorial claims


Claims on the territory include the fact that an area in northwestern of the Golan region, (delineated by a rough triangle formed by the towns of Banias
Banias
Banias is an archaeological site by the ancient city of Caesarea Philippi, located at the foot of Mount Hermon in the Golan Heights...

, Quneitra
Quneitra
Quneitra is the largely destroyed and abandoned capital of the Quneitra Governorate in south-western Syria. It is situated in a high valley in the Golan Heights at an elevation of 1,010 metres above sea level...

 and the northern tip of the Sea of Galilee
Sea of Galilee
The Sea of Galilee, also Kinneret, Lake of Gennesaret, or Lake Tiberias , is the largest freshwater lake in Israel, and it is approximately in circumference, about long, and wide. The lake has a total area of , and a maximum depth of approximately 43 m...

), was part of the British Palestine Mandate in which the establishment of a Jewish national home had been promised. In 1923, this triangle in northwestern Golan was ceded to the French Mandate in Syria, but in exchange for this, land areas in Syria and Lebanon was ceded to Palestine, and the whole of the Sea of Galilee which previously had its eastern boundary connected to Syria was placed inside Palestine. Syrians counter that the region was placed in the Vilayet of Damascus as part of Syria under the Ottoman boundaries and that the 1920 British-Franco agreement
Franco-British Boundary Agreement (1920)
The Franco-British Boundary Agreement of 1920, properly called the Franco-British Convention on Certain Points Connected with the Mandates for Syria and the Lebanon, Palestine and Mesopotamia, was an agreement signed between the British and French governments in Paris, on 23 December 1920...

 which had placed part of the Golan under the control of Britain was only temporary and that the final border line drawn up in 1923, which excluded the Golan triangle, had superseded it, (although Syria has never recognised the 1923 border as legally binding).

1923 border, 1949 armistice, 1967 ceasefire



One of the aspects of the dispute involves the existence prior to 1967 of three different lines separating Syria from Israel (or, prior to 1948, from the British Mandate for Palestine).

The 1923 boundary between Mandate Palestine and the French Mandate of Syria
French Mandate of Syria
Officially the French Mandate for Syria and the Lebanon was a League of Nations mandate founded after the First World War and the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire...

 was drawn with water in mind. Accordingly, it was demarcated so that all of the Sea of Galilee
Sea of Galilee
The Sea of Galilee, also Kinneret, Lake of Gennesaret, or Lake Tiberias , is the largest freshwater lake in Israel, and it is approximately in circumference, about long, and wide. The lake has a total area of , and a maximum depth of approximately 43 m...

, including a 10-meter wide strip of beach along its northeastern shore, would stay inside Palestine. From the Sea of Galilee north to Lake Hula the boundary was drawn between 50 and 400 meters east of the upper Jordan River, keeping that stream entirely within the British Mandate. The British also received a sliver of land along the Yarmouk River
Yarmouk River
The Yarmouk River is the largest tributary of the Jordan River. It drains much of the Hauran Plateau. It is one of three main tributaries which enter the Jordan between the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea. To the south, are the Jabbok/Zarqa and the Arnon/Wadi Mujib) rivers...

, out to the present-day Hamat Gader
Hamat Gader
Hamat Gader is a site in the Yarmouk River valley, near the Sea of Galilee in the Golan Heights. The name means "hot springs of Gadara", referring to the several mineral springs with temperatures up to 50°C...

.

During the 1948–49 Arab-Israeli War
1948 Arab-Israeli War
The 1948 Arab–Israeli War, known to Israelis as the War of Independence or War of Liberation The war commenced after the termination of the British Mandate for Palestine and the creation of an independent Israel at midnight on 14 May 1948 when, following a period of civil war, Arab armies invaded...

, Syria captured various areas of the former Palestine mandate, including the 10-meter strip of beach, the east bank of the upper Jordan, as well as areas along the Yarmouk.

During Armistice talks
1949 Armistice Agreements
The 1949 Armistice Agreements are a set of agreements signed during 1949 between Israel and neighboring Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria. The agreements ended the official hostilities of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, and established armistice lines between Israeli forces and the forces in...

 of 1949, Israel called for the removal of all Syrian forces from the former Palestine territory. Syria refused, insisting on an armistice line based not on the 1923 international border but on the military status quo. The result was a compromise. Under the terms of an armistice signed on July 20, 1949, Syrian forces were to withdraw east of the old Palestine-Syria boundary. Israeli forces were to refrain from entering the evacuated areas, which would become a demilitarised zone, "from which the armed forces of both Parties shall be totally excluded, and in which no activities by military or paramilitary forces shall be permitted." Accordingly, major parts of the armistice lines departed from the 1923 boundary and protruded into Israel. There were three distinct, non-contiguous enclaves—in the extreme northeast to the west of Banias, on the west bank of the Jordan River near Lake Hula, and the eastern-southeastern shores of the Sea of Galilee extending out to Hamat Gader, consisting of 66.5 square kilometers of land lying between the 1949 armistice line and the 1923 boundary, forming the demilitarised zone.

Following the armistice, both Israel and Syria sought to take advantage of the territorial ambiguities left in place by the 1949 agreement. This resulted in an evolving tactical situation, one "snapshot" of which was the disposition of forces immediately prior to the Six-Day War
Six-Day War
The Six-Day War , also known as the June War, 1967 Arab-Israeli War, or Third Arab-Israeli War, was fought between June 5 and 10, 1967, by Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt , Jordan, and Syria...

, the “line of June 4, 1967”.

Shebaa Farms



On June 7, 2000, the demarcation
Demarcation line
A demarcation line means simply a boundary around a specific area, but is commonly used to denote a temporary geopolitical border, often agreed upon as part of an armistice or ceasefire.See the following examples:...

 Blue Line
Blue Line (Lebanon)
The Blue Line is a border demarcation between Lebanon and Israel published by the United Nations on 7 June 2000 for the purposes of determining whether Israel had fully withdrawn from Lebanon...

 was established by UN in order to ensure full Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon, according to UN Security Council Resolution 425
United Nations Security Council Resolution 425
United Nations Security Council Resolution 425, adopted on March 19, 1978, five days after the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, called on Israel to withdraw immediately its forces from Lebanon and established the United Nations Interim Force In Lebanon...

. After Israeli troops left Lebanese soil
Liberation Day (Lebanon)
Liberation Day is a holiday in Lebanon on May 25.On May 25, 2000, the Israeli army withdrew from territory in Southern Lebanon after 22 years of occupation. The United Nations certified that the withdrawal was complete, with troops having left territory demarcated by the Blue Line...

, UN announced the resolution was respected. Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

 continues to claim a small portion of the area occupied by Israel as part of the Golan Heights. The territory, known as the Shebaa Farms, measures 22 square kilometres (8.5 sq mi) and lies on the border between Lebanon and the Golan Heights. Maps used by the UN in demarcating the Blue Line were not able to conclusively show the border between Lebanon and Syria in the area. Syria agrees that the Shebaa Farms are within Lebanese territory; however, Israel considers the area to be inside of Syria's borders and continues to occupy the territory.

Al-Ghajar



Al Ghajar village
Ghajar
Ghajar is an Alawite village on the Hasbani River on the border between Lebanon and the Israeli-occupied portion of the Golan Heights. It has a population of 2,000.-Early history:...

 is another complex border issue west of Shebaa farms. Before the 1967 war
Six-Day War
The Six-Day War , also known as the June War, 1967 Arab-Israeli War, or Third Arab-Israeli War, was fought between June 5 and 10, 1967, by Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt , Jordan, and Syria...

 this Allawite village was in Syria. It is divided by an international boundary
Blue Line (Lebanon)
The Blue Line is a border demarcation between Lebanon and Israel published by the United Nations on 7 June 2000 for the purposes of determining whether Israel had fully withdrawn from Lebanon...

, with the northern part of the village on the Lebanese side since 2000
Liberation Day (Lebanon)
Liberation Day is a holiday in Lebanon on May 25.On May 25, 2000, the Israeli army withdrew from territory in Southern Lebanon after 22 years of occupation. The United Nations certified that the withdrawal was complete, with troops having left territory demarcated by the Blue Line...

. Residents of both parts hold Israeli citizenship, and in the northern part often a Lebanese passport as well. Today the entire village is surrounded by a fence, with no division between the Israeli and Lebanese sides. There is an Israeli army checkpoint at the entrance to the village from Israel.

Ford-Rabin Correspondence


In 1975, U.S. President Gerald Ford
Gerald Ford
Gerald Rudolph "Jerry" Ford, Jr. was the 38th President of the United States, serving from 1974 to 1977, and the 40th Vice President of the United States serving from 1973 to 1974...

 wrote a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin in which he stated:

In 1991, U.S. Secretary of State James Baker
James Baker
James Addison Baker, III is an American attorney, politician and political advisor.Baker served as the Chief of Staff in President Ronald Reagan's first administration and in the final year of the administration of President George H. W. Bush...

 repeated to Israel Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir
Yitzhak Shamir
' is a former Israeli politician, the seventh Prime Minister of Israel, in 1983–84 and 1986–92.-Biography:Icchak Jeziernicky was born in Ruzhany , Russian Empire . He studied at a Hebrew High School in Białystok, Poland. As a youth he joined Betar, the Revisionist Zionist youth movement...

 that the United States would honor the position of Ford's letter. According to scholar William B. Quandt
William B. Quandt
William B. Quandt is an American scholar, author, professor and member of the Department of Politics at the University of Virginia. He previously served as senior fellow in the Foreign Policy Studies Program at the Brookings Institution and as a member on the National Security Council in the...

, some suspect that Baker also made a commitment to Syrian President Hafez al-Assad
Hafez al-Assad
Hafez ibn 'Ali ibn Sulayman al-Assad or more commonly Hafez al-Assad was the President of Syria for three decades. Assad's rule consolidated the power of the central government after decades of coups and counter-coups, such as Operation Wappen in 1957 conducted by the Eisenhower administration and...

 that the United States did not recognize Israel's annexation of the Golan, and thought that UN Resolution 242 should apply there.

On July 24, 1991, Shamir stated to Israeli telivision:

UNDOF supervision


UNDOF (the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 Disengagement Observer Force) was established in 1974 to supervise the implementation of the disengagement agreement and maintain the ceasefire with an area of separation known as the UNDOF Zone. Currently there are more than 1,000 UN peacekeepers
Timeline of UN peacekeeping missions
The United Nations has authorized 63 peacekeeping missions as of February 2009. These do not include interventions authorized by the UN like the Korean War and the Gulf War...

 there trying to sustain a lasting peace. Details of the UNDOF mission, mandate, map and military positions can be accessed via the following United Nations link http://www.un.org/Depts/dpko/missions/undof/index.html. Syria and Israel still contest the ownership of the Heights but have not used overt military force since 1974. The great strategic value of the Heights both militarily and as a source of water means that a deal is uncertain. Members of the UN Disengagement force are usually the only individuals who cross the Israeli-Syrian de-facto border (cease fire "Alpha Line"), but since 1988 both Israel and Syria have taken measures to relieve the problems encountered by the Druze population of the Golan Heights. Since 1988 Israel has allowed Druze pilgrims to cross into the rest of Syria to visit the shrine of Abel
Cain and Abel
In the Hebrew Bible, Cain and Abel are two sons of Adam and Eve. The Qur'an mentions the story, calling them the two sons of Adam only....

 on Mount Qasioun
Mount Qasioun
Mount Qasioun is a mountain overlooking the city of Damascus, Syria. It has a range of restaurants, from which the whole city can be viewed. As the city expanded over the years, some districts have been established on the foot of the mountain...

. In 2005, Syria allowed a few trucks of Druze-grown Golan apples to be imported. The trucks themselves were driven by Kenyan nationals. Since 1967, Druze brides have been allowed to cross the Golan border into the rest of Syria, but they do so in the knowledge that the journey is a one-way trip.

Current status


Israel began constructing settlements in the territory in the 1970s. The area was governed by military administration until 1981 when Israel passed the Golan Heights Law
Golan Heights Law
The Golan Heights Law is the Israeli law which applies Israel's government and laws to the Golan Heights. It was ratified by the Knesset on December 14, 1981. The law was condemned internationally and determined null and void by United Nations Security Council Resolution 497.The law was passed...

, which extended Israeli law
Israeli law
Israeli law is a mixed legal system reflecting the diverse history of the territory of the State of Israel throughout the last hundred years , as well as the legal systems of its major religious communities...

 and administration throughout the territory. This move was condemned by the United Nations Security Council
United Nations Security Council
The United Nations Security Council is one of the principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. Its powers, outlined in the United Nations Charter, include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of...

 in UN Resolution 497, although Israel asserts its right to retain the area, citing the text of UN Resolution 242, adopted after the Six-Day War, which calls for "safe and recognised boundaries free from threats or acts of force". The continued Israeli control of the Golan Heights remains highly contested and is still regarded as belligerent occupation by most countries, but is recognised by many states as a valid military tactic in an unresolved conflict, consistent with the self-defence provision of the UN charter. However, the international community rejects the validity of the Golan Heights Law
Golan Heights Law
The Golan Heights Law is the Israeli law which applies Israel's government and laws to the Golan Heights. It was ratified by the Knesset on December 14, 1981. The law was condemned internationally and determined null and void by United Nations Security Council Resolution 497.The law was passed...

 as an attempted annexation
Annexation
Annexation is the de jure incorporation of some territory into another geo-political entity . Usually, it is implied that the territory and population being annexed is the smaller, more peripheral, and weaker of the two merging entities, barring physical size...

 by force, illegal under the UN Charter and the Geneva Conventions
Geneva Conventions
The Geneva Conventions comprise four treaties, and three additional protocols, that establish the standards of international law for the humanitarian treatment of the victims of war...

. Israeli settlements and human rights policy in the occupied territory have also drawn criticism from the UN. In 1995, Shimon Peres
Shimon Peres
GCMG is the ninth President of the State of Israel. Peres served twice as the eighth Prime Minister of Israel and once as Interim Prime Minister, and has been a member of 12 cabinets in a political career spanning over 66 years...

 is reported as making several statements regarding the Golan. Ninan Koshy writes that he declared that the "Golan plateau is Syrian land and we have settled on the Syrian land... We do not want to exercise power over another people, and that includes the Golan plateau which is not part of the Land of Israel.". Daniel Pipes
Daniel Pipes
Daniel Pipes is an American historian, writer, and political commentator. He is the founder and director of the Middle East Forum and its Campus Watch project, and editor of its Middle East Quarterly journal...

 cites his remark that "The Golan Heights was never historically considered a part of the State of Israel," and that "Neither Herzl nor any other of Israel's founders of any stripe ever dreamt the Golan Heights would be part of the state of Israel." Peres has stated that Israel has repeatedly affirmed Syrian sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

Syrian


East of the 1973 ceasefire line, in the Syrian controlled part of the Golan Heights, an area of 600 km², are more than 40 Syrian towns and villages, including Quneitra
Quneitra
Quneitra is the largely destroyed and abandoned capital of the Quneitra Governorate in south-western Syria. It is situated in a high valley in the Golan Heights at an elevation of 1,010 metres above sea level...

, Khan Arnabah, Alhameedia, Alrafeed, Alsamdaneea, Almudareea, Beer Ajam
Beer ajam
Beer Ajam is a Circassian village in the province of Quneitra in the Syrian-controlled portion of the Golan Heights. It has been inhabited for about 150 years. Its first houses where built in 1872...

, Barika, Gadeer Albustan, Hadar, Juba, Kodana, Ofanya, Rwaiheena, Nabe’ Alsakher, Trinja, Umm Ale’zam, and Umm batna. The population of the Quneitra Governorate numbers 79,000, and the Syrian population in the Israeli-occupied portion consists of 20 000 people.

In the late 1970s, the Israeli government offered all non-Israelis living in the Golan citizenship, but at present, fewer than 10% of the Druze are Israeli citizens; the remainder hold Syrian citizenship. The Golan Alawites in the village of Ghajar
Ghajar
Ghajar is an Alawite village on the Hasbani River on the border between Lebanon and the Israeli-occupied portion of the Golan Heights. It has a population of 2,000.-Early history:...

 accepted Israeli citizenship in 1981.

Pre-1967 Syrian towns and villages in the Golan Heights


According to most estimates, the population of the entire area prior to the 1967 Six Day War ranged from between 130,000–145,000. This included 17,000 Palestinian refugees registered with UNRWA. Between 80,000 and 130,000 Syrians fled or were driven from the heights during the Six-Day War and around 7,000 remained in the Israeli-held territory in six villages: Majdal Shams
Majdal Shams
Majdal Shams is a Druze village in the northern part of the Golan Heights, in the southern foothills of Mt. Hermon. Since the June 1967 Six-Day War, the village has been controlled by Israel, first under martial law, but since 1981 under Israeli civil law, and incorporated into the Israeli...

, Mas'ade
Mas'ade
Mas'ade is a Druze village in the Golan Heights. It covers an area of 11,985 dunams, and has a population of 3,200. It was given the status of a local council in 1982.Near Mas'ade are Lake Ram and Odem Forest....

, Buq'ata
Buq'ata
Buq'ata is a Druze town in the northern Golan Heights, administered by Israel. It covers an area of 7,000 dunams , at a height of 1,070 metres above sea level, between Mount Hermonit and Mount Varda. Buq'ata achieved Israeli municipal status as a local council in 1982...

, Ein Qiniyye
Ein Qiniyye
Ein Qiniyye is a Druze village in the Golan Heights. It was declared a local council in 1982. According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics it a population of 1,900 in 2006, with a growth rate of 2.4%. The village is located on the footsteps of Mount Hermon, 750 meters above sea level.-See...

, Ghajar
Ghajar
Ghajar is an Alawite village on the Hasbani River on the border between Lebanon and the Israeli-occupied portion of the Golan Heights. It has a population of 2,000.-Early history:...

 and Shayta
Shayta
Shayta, S'heita or Su’heita, was a Syrian village located in the Golan Heights. It was one of only six Syrian villages in the Golan Heights still populated following the Six-Day War. After Israel occupied the area in 1967, Shaytas population census was 176 people, down from 200 in 1960. In 1967,...

.

Israel demolished over one hundred Syrian villages and farms in the Golan Heights. After the demolitions, the lands were given to Israeli settlers.

Quneitra
Quneitra
Quneitra is the largely destroyed and abandoned capital of the Quneitra Governorate in south-western Syria. It is situated in a high valley in the Golan Heights at an elevation of 1,010 metres above sea level...

 was the biggest city in the Golan Heights until 1967, housing some 27,000 people. The city came under Israeli control on the last day of the Six-Day War and was handed back to Syrian civil control per the 1974 Disengagement Agreement. But the Israelis had destroyed Quneitra with dynamite and bulldozers before they withdrew from the city.

Israeli settlements



The Israeli-occupied territory is administered by the Golan Regional Council
Golan Regional Council
The Golan Regional Council is the regional council consolidating almost all Israeli settlements located on the Golan Heights. It is made up of 19 moshavim and 10 kibbutzim, and other villages...

, based in the Israeli settlement
Israeli settlement
An Israeli settlement is a Jewish civilian community built on land that was captured by Israel from Jordan, Egypt, and Syria during the 1967 Six-Day War and is considered occupied territory by the international community. Such settlements currently exist in the West Bank...

 of Katzrin, which has a population of 6,400. There another 19 moshav
Moshav
Moshav is a type of Israeli town or settlement, in particular a type of cooperative agricultural community of individual farms pioneered by the Labour Zionists during the second aliyah...

im and 10 kibbutz
Kibbutz
A kibbutz is a collective community in Israel that was traditionally based on agriculture. Today, farming has been partly supplanted by other economic branches, including industrial plants and high-tech enterprises. Kibbutzim began as utopian communities, a combination of socialism and Zionism...

im. In 1989, the settler population was around 10,000. In 2010 the settlers had expanded to 20,000 living in 32 settlements.

Landmarks




The Golan Heights has a rich history and features numerous archeological sites, mountains, streams and waterfalls. Throughout the region 62 ancient synagogues have been found dating back to the Roman and Byzantine periods.
  • Kursi

Kursi is the ruins of a Byzantine Christian monastery.
  • Katzrin

Katzrin is the administrative and commercial center of the Israeli-controlled area of the Golan Heights. As such it hosts a large number of attractions.
  • The Katzrin Ancient Village
    Katzrin Ancient Village
    The Katzrin ancient village and synagogue is an open air museum located in the Golan Heights on the outskirts of the Israeli settlement Katzrin.-Overview:...

     is fully excavated and one can tour the different houses in the village as well as the remains of a large synagogue
    Synagogue
    A synagogue is a Jewish house of prayer. This use of the Greek term synagogue originates in the Septuagint where it sometimes translates the Hebrew word for assembly, kahal...

    . There is also an interactive movie experience about the Talmudic time within the compound.
  • The Golan Archaeological Museum
    Golan Archaeological Museum
    The Golan Archaeological Museum is a museum of the archaeological finds of the Golan Heights, located in Katzrin.The museum features artifacts from all historical periods...

     hosts archaeological finds uncovered in the Golan Heights from prehistoric times. A special focus concerns Gamla and excavations of synagogues and Byzantine churches.
  • The Golan Heights Winery
    Golan Heights Winery
    The Golan Heights Winery is an Israeli winery located in Katzrin, built on the site of an agricultural village from the Mishnaic period in the Golan Heights.-History:...

    , a major winery of Israel
    Israeli wine
    Israeli wine is produced by hundreds of wineries, ranging in size from small boutique enterprises to large companies producing over ten million bottles per year. Wine has been produced in the Land of Israel since biblical times. In 2009, Israeli wine exports totaled over $22 million...

     and the mineral water
    Mineral water
    Mineral water is water containing minerals or other dissolved substances that alter its taste or give it therapeutic value, generally obtained from a naturally occurring mineral spring or source. Dissolved substances in the water may include various salts and sulfur compounds...

     plant of Mey Eden
    Mey Eden
    Mey Eden is the brand name of the company Eden Springs Ltd. which is an Israeli mineral water marketing company.Mey Eden is a leading mineral water company in Israel. The brand and company were created in 1980 after development of the Salukia wellspring in Katzrin, Golan Heights...

     which derives its water from the spring
    Spring (hydrosphere)
    A spring—also known as a rising or resurgence—is a component of the hydrosphere. Specifically, it is any natural situation where water flows to the surface of the earth from underground...

     of Salukiya in the Golan. One can tour these factories as well as factories of oil products and fruit products.
  • Two open air strip mall
    Strip mall
    A strip mall is an open-area shopping center where the stores are arranged in a row, with a sidewalk in front. Strip malls are typically developed as a unit and have large parking lots in front...

    s, one which holds the Kesem ha-Golan (Golan Magic), a three-dimensional movie and model of the geography and history of the Golan Heights.

  • Gamla Nature Reserve

The Gamla
Gamla
Gamla was an ancient Jewish city in the Golan Heights. Inhabited since the Early Bronze Age, it is believed to have been founded as a Seleucid fort during the Syrian Wars. The site of a Roman siege during the Great Revolt of the 1st century CE, Gamla is a symbol of heroism for the modern state of...

 Nature Reserve is an open park which holds the archaeological remains of the ancient Jewish city of Gamla — including a tower, wall and synagogue. It is also the site of a large waterfall, an ancient Byzantine church, and a panoramic spot to observe the nearly 100 vulture
Vulture
Vulture is the name given to two groups of convergently evolved scavenging birds, the New World Vultures including the well-known Californian and Andean Condors, and the Old World Vultures including the birds which are seen scavenging on carcasses of dead animals on African plains...

s who dwell in the cliffs. Israeli scientists study the vultures and tourists can watch them fly and nest.
  • Rujm el-Hiri

Rujm el-Hiri is a large circular stone monument similar to Stonehenge
Stonehenge
Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument located in the English county of Wiltshire, about west of Amesbury and north of Salisbury. One of the most famous sites in the world, Stonehenge is composed of a circular setting of large standing stones set within earthworks...

. A 3D model of the site exists in the Museum of Golan Antiquities in Katzrin.
  • Um el Kanatir

Um el Kanatir is another impressive set of standing ruins of a Jewish village of the Byzantine
Byzantine
Byzantine usually refers to the Roman Empire during the Middle Ages.Byzantine may also refer to:* A citizen of the Byzantine Empire, or native Greek during the Middle Ages...

 era. The site includes a very large synagogue
Synagogue
A synagogue is a Jewish house of prayer. This use of the Greek term synagogue originates in the Septuagint where it sometimes translates the Hebrew word for assembly, kahal...

 and two arches next to a natural spring.
  • Nimrod Fortress

Now a nature reserve, the Nimrod Fortress
Nimrod Fortress
The Nimrod Fortress or Nimrod's Fortress, is a medieval fortress situated in the northern Golan Heights, on a ridge rising about 800 m above sea level.-History:...

 was once used by the Ayyubids, Crusaders
Crusades
The Crusades were a series of religious wars, blessed by the Pope and the Catholic Church with the main goal of restoring Christian access to the holy places in and near Jerusalem...

, Mongols
Mongols
Mongols ) are a Central-East Asian ethnic group that lives mainly in the countries of Mongolia, China, and Russia. In China, ethnic Mongols can be found mainly in the central north region of China such as Inner Mongolia...

 and Mamluks.
  • Mount Hermon and Lake Ram

A ski resort
Mount Hermon ski resort
The Mount Hermon ski resort is situated on the south-eastern slopes of Mount Hermon, a few kilometers off the Israeli-Syrian ceasefire line, in the Israeli-occupied portion of the Golan Heights. The site is surrounded by the Hermon nature reserve...

 on the slopes of Mount Hermon
Mount Hermon
Mount Hermon is a mountain cluster in the Anti-Lebanon mountain range. Its summit straddles the border between Syria and Lebanon and, at 2,814 m above sea level, is the highest point in Syria. On the top there is “Hermon Hotel”, in the buffer zone between Syria and Israeli-occupied...

 features a wide range of ski trails and activities. Several restaurants are located in the area. The Lake Ram crater lake
Crater lake
A crater lake is a lake that forms in a volcanic crater or caldera, such as a maar; less commonly and with lower association to the term a lake may form in an impact crater caused by a meteorite. Sometimes lakes which form inside calderas are called caldera lakes, but often this distinction is not...

 is nearby.
  • Hamat Gader

Hamat Gader
Hamat Gader
Hamat Gader is a site in the Yarmouk River valley, near the Sea of Galilee in the Golan Heights. The name means "hot springs of Gadara", referring to the several mineral springs with temperatures up to 50°C...

 is site of natural hot mineral spring
Mineral spring
Mineral springs are naturally occurring springs that produce water containing minerals, or other dissolved substances, that alter its taste or give it a purported therapeutic value...

s with temperatures reaching 50°C. Hamat Gader was already used for recreation and healing purposes during Roman times
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

. The site includes a Roman theatre
Theatre
Theatre is a collaborative form of fine art that uses live performers to present the experience of a real or imagined event before a live audience in a specific place. The performers may communicate this experience to the audience through combinations of gesture, speech, song, music or dance...

, which was built in the 3rd century CE and contained 2,000 seats. A large synagogue
Synagogue
A synagogue is a Jewish house of prayer. This use of the Greek term synagogue originates in the Septuagint where it sometimes translates the Hebrew word for assembly, kahal...

 was built in the 5th century CE.
  • Hippos

Hippos
Hippos
Hippos is an archaeological site in Israel, located on a hill overlooking the Sea of Galilee. Between the 3rd century BC and the 7th century AD, Hippos was the site of a Greco-Roman city. Besides the fortified city itself, Hippos controlled two port facilities on the lake and an area of the...

 is an ancient Greco-Roman city, known in Jewish Aramaic as Susita. The archaeological site includes excavations of the city's forum, the small imperial cult temple, a large Hellenistic temple compound, the Roman city gates, and two Byzantine churches.

Viticulture


On a visit to Israel and the Golan Heights in 1972, Cornelius Ough, a professor of viticulture and oenology at the University of California, Davis
University of California, Davis
The University of California, Davis is a public teaching and research university established in 1905 and located in Davis, California, USA. Spanning over , the campus is the largest within the University of California system and third largest by enrollment...

, pronounced conditions in the Golan very suitable for the cultivation of wine grapes. The first vines were planted in 1976.

See also

  • Al-Marsad
    Al-Marsad
    Al-Marsad – The Arab Center for Human Rights in the Golan Heights is an independent human rights organization that operates in the Golan Heights...

  • Borders of Israel
    Borders of Israel
    Israel's borders are the borders of the State of Israel. The borders have changed from time to time with developments in Israel's military and diplomatic situation. It borders Lebanon in the north, Syria in the northeast, Jordan and the West Bank in the east, the Gaza Strip and Egypt on the...

  • Golan Regional Council
    Golan Regional Council
    The Golan Regional Council is the regional council consolidating almost all Israeli settlements located on the Golan Heights. It is made up of 19 moshavim and 10 kibbutzim, and other villages...

  • Independent Israel–Syria peace initiatives
  • International law and the Arab-Israeli conflict
    International law and the Arab-Israeli conflict
    There is a broad international consensus that the actions of the nations involved in the Arab-Israeli conflict violate prohibitions contained in international law. However, this legality is disputed by some of the nations involved...

  • Israel–Syria relations
    Israel–Syria relations
    Israel–Syria relations refers to diplomatic and economic relations between Israel and Syria. Diplomatic ties have not been established, and the countries have fought four major wars, in 1948, 1967, 1973 and 1982.-History:...

  • Front for the Liberation of the Golan
    Front for the Liberation of the Golan
    The Front for the Liberation of the Golan is a guerilla organization formed by Syria in July 2006 shortly after what Syria viewed as a Hezbollah victory over Israel during the 2006 Lebanon War. Its aim is to recover the Golan Heights from Israel through military campaign...

  • Shouting Hill
    Shouting Hill
    The Shouting Hill is a hill in the Israeli controlled portion of the Golan Heights. The hill is situated near the Druze village of Majdal Shams in the area of the Golan that is occupied by Israel. During the Six Day War, Israel captured the majority of the heights...

  • The Syrian Bride
    The Syrian Bride
    The Syrian Bride is a 2004 film directed by Eran Riklis. The story deals with a Druze wedding and the troubles the politically unresolved situation creates for the personal lives of the people in and from the village...

  • UN Security Council Resolution 452
  • UN Security Council Resolution 465
  • UN Security Council Resolution 471
    UN Security Council Resolution 471
    United Nations Security Council Resolution 471, adopted on June 5, 1980 under Chapter VI of the United Nations Charter was on the issue of the Israeli occupation and settlement activity in the Palestinian territories of East Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights.It criticized...

  • Petroleum Road
    Petroleum Road
    The Petroleum Road is a privately owned north-south asphalt road in the Golan Heights. It is long. It begins near Mount Paras on the east edge of the central Golan, and ends in the northern Golan near the Israeli controlled Golan-Lebanese frontier, nearby Ghajar.Most of the road is marked on maps...

  • Golan Heights Wind Farm
    Golan Heights Wind Farm
    The Golan Heights Wind Farm is an Israeli wind farm located 1050 m above sea level on Mount Bnei Rasan 5 km south of Quneitra in the Golan Heights. The wind farm was built in 1992 by the Mey Eden mineral water company, supported by the then-Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure.It includes 10...



External links