Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter’s comments regarding the possible return by Israel of the Golan to Syria for a formal peace treaty, was given a ‘thumbs down’ response by his boss, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Dichter, a former head of Israel’s Shin Bet internal security organization, said that if Syria is ready to enter into a peace agreement with Israel on the same level as the current agreements Israel already has with both Egypt and Jordan, then Israel is willing to return the Golan Heights to Syria. Dicther’s statement was made despite the ‘Heights’ being considered by many Israelis as being not only a strategic asset to Israel, but an important economic one as well.
Gained from Syria during the 1967 Six Day War; and the scene of some of the bloodiest tank and armor battles during the 1973 Yon Kippur War, the Golan Heights have since become one of the more serene areas of all of the territory conquered by Israel. Though fewer Jewish settlers have chosen to live there, in contrast to either the West Bank or the recently abandoned Gaza Strip, the Heights are one of the most beautiful natural spots of the entire region. Due to it’s possessing one of the entire Middle East’s most critical assets, this piece of real estate, in the long run, may turn out to be one of the most valuable. And of you haven’t guessed by now what this most important and valuable asset is, just turn on the tap on you kitchen sink. That’s right; this asset is water.
The numerous streams and natural springs present on the Golan Heights, being fed by annual melting of winter snows on Mt. Hermon, are one of the primary sources of water to both the Jordan River and to the region’s largest fresh water lake, the Kinneret. Should a future peace deal be completed with Syria, and that country’s control of the Golan be extended to within 300 meters of the Kinneret’s eastern shore; it’s obvious what that country will do with most of the water that would normally flow into the Kinneret, and into Israel’s national water system. Even though a deal had to agreed upon with Jordan, regarding part of the water flowing through the Yarmuk River into the Jordan, as well as part of the Jordan’s flow itself, the Hashimate Kingdom has abided by its agreement and hasn’t taken more than the amount allocated to it. Syria, on the other hand, might not honor any such agreements, if past history (pre 1967) is any kind of indication. Despite Israel’s ambitious plans to build at least three additional de-salenization plants of the size presently in place in Ashkelon, they still would not be ample enough to provide needed annual water supplies for Israel growing needs.
P.M. Olmert replied to Dichter’s remarks that due to Syria’s current support to terrorists, including the Hezbollah, the Golan Heights are not a subject of negotiation. This the situation as it stands now; but one might wonder if this might change several years hence. After all, former Israeli Prime Minister Areil Sharon changed his position entirely when he decided to remove all Jewish settlers from Gaza. Though fewer Jews presently live on the Golan, removing them in some future disengagement will not solve the issue of whether or not Israel should retain it. The issue is very clear, besides the security one of course. And this should be obvious to everyone, each time they turn on the tap.
August 24, 2006 at 6:51 am
Let’s assume everything is true in this letter regarding Gen. Haluz’s Character. Even the Stock sale transtaction is excusable (most of us would have done the same thing is a simiar circumstance).
It still, however doesn’t take cae of the matter as most countries do not place an air force commander in the position of presiding over all ground forces as well. Tactical field maneuvering is a bit different than flying combat sorties. And what happened to the reserve soldiers (miluimnikim) is COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE! If this is the scenario in future comflicts, then these men will think twice – even thrice – before answering the call to duty.
Halutz may have an ‘open door’, but it appears to be for fly boys only, and not field troopers. As an ancient Roman poet once wrote: “Tell me the tale of the foot soldier, and I will tell you the tale of all wars”. Another saying, I believe by a famous British General during the wars against Napoleon: “an army travels on it’s stomach” (meaning that without proper rations, the troops can’t fight properly).
Those sayings are just as relavant today as they were then.
August 24, 2006 at 6:54 am
OOPS! Sorry about this, my comments got posted after the wrong article – should have been following the letter written on behalf of Gen. Dan Halutz.
August 30, 2006 at 1:24 pm
When are you people going to see the folly of your racist ways? Until you deal with the apartheid premise that the state of Israel is built upon and start respecting your neighbors then you are doomed. Alternatively why donâ€™t you sod off back to Golders Green or Florida (or wherever you have your second homes) and live like normal people?