Saturday, May 12, 2007
To the north of the Sea of Galilee is the Hula Valley, the northernmost end of the Jordan Rift. To the east of the Hula Valley and the Sea of Galilee lies the Golan Heights. Throughout history, the Golan Heights have been highly contested and often fought over. In biblical times the main reason was due to the road. The road that ran from the south, reaching to Eilat, the Red Sea and the spice trade, ran north through the Golan Heights into Damascus and from there into Mesopotamia. There was also a stretch of the International Highway that went along the coastal plain of Israel which went through the Golan Heights. Whoever controlled the Golan Heights also controlled the revenue that went along the roads. The Golan Heights is not referred to by that name in the Bible, but such cities as Ramoth Gilead, Karnaim and Aphek are in the Golan Heights. Israel and Aram often fought over cities in this region. The Golan Heights region is also known as Bashan in the Bible, a place of luxuriant growth. It was the home of one of the Amorite kings before he got his life cut short. Today Syria and Israel are fighting over the region. In the War of Independence Syria took over this land and then used it to position artillery to regularly shell targets in Israel, an easy task since the Golan Heights overlooks many Israeli settlements around the Sea of Galilee and in the Hula Valley. Then in the Six-Day War Israel took the Golan Heights after Syria attacked them. Quenetria, a city of 30,000, now sits deserted since it is in the middle of a UN demilitarized zone between Israel and Syria. Syria still wants the Golan Heights back, and it is a possibility that someday Israel will give back the Golan Heights to Syria in exchange for formal recognition, similar to the trade of Sinai to Egypt for formal recognition. Would this be a good idea? I don’t know.
This is the view of the Hula Valley and Upper Galilee from the Golan Heights. The Sea of Galilee is south, to the left, although you cannot see it in this picture.
The cows of Bashan (Amos 4:1)
An old Syrian gun overlooking the Sea of Galilee.
Lots of mines still in the Golan Heights.
This is a ghost town: an old Syrian village.
The Hebrew says "the land of the Golan is the inheritance of our fathers." Hence, they do not want to give it away. Will they? Only time will tell.
to add comments