FIRST Published:
FRIDAY, MARCH 05, 2010
JERUSALEM – The Israeli army conquered the Western slopes of the Golan Heights on the last day of the 1967 war, at the insistence of the resident’s council of Israel’s Upper Galilee region, after Syrian artillery attacks from the Golan had made the lives of the residents of the Galilee impossible. This is because Syria views the Upper Galilee region as belonging to Syria.

Syria has never given up its commitement to conquering the Galilee and annexing it, which provides Israel with a concrete reason why it is not willing to budge from the Golan Heights.

Now there is a new reason why Syria wants the Golan Heights in its hands.

Syria can no longer conceal the massive transfer it is carrying out, after a U.N. report two weeks ago exposed it. The Syrian government uprooted more than 300,000 of its citizens from their dwellings in eastern Syria and moved them to new cities, without any means of survival. The reason: a policy of forced agriculture in the country’s eastern sector, including forced farming of water-hungry crops like cotton and wheat that brought about a total drying up of wells and famine.

According to intelligence analyst Guy Bichor, “Now everyone knows why Syria is so hard-pressed to get its hands on our Sea of Galilee: in order to suck it dry by piping its waters to no-longer-inhabitable areas in the eastern part of the country.”

According to Mr. Bichor, Syria also defers to Turkey in hopes that it will raise the water quotas from the Euphrates. The Syrian plan is to gain control of the Sea of Galilee to solve its water problems.

If Israel were to cede the Golan Heights and its vast water supply to Syria, it is likely Syrian President Bashar Assad would populate the Golan with over one million Syrians.

Concerns remain, however, that Syria would again transform the Golan into a forward base from where it would once again fire missiles on Israel’s Upper Galilee region, since Syria views the Upper Galilee as Syrian territory.

David Bedein can be reached at dbedein@israelbehindthenews.com.

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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.

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