Wednesday, August 27, 2008

What happened along the Syrian-Israeli border?

in the Demilitarized Zones before the 1967 war? This is one of the most vital questions to answer regarding the build up to the Israeli initiated war of 1967. What was happening along the Syrian Israeli border? Who was acting more aggressively, who was acting defensively? Well, according to Odd Bull, the chief of staff of UN forces in the Middle East, "the status quo was all the tie being altered by Israel in her favor." Arab villagers were being evicted, and "all Arab villages dissapeared", and from general Carl von Horn before him,"gradually, beneath the glowering eyes of the Syrians, who held the high ground overlooking the zone, the area had become a network of Israeli canals and irrigation channels edging up against and always encroaching on Arab-owned property." "This deliberate poaching was bitterly resented by the Syrians."  Moshe Dayan himself admitted, 

""Never mind that [when asked that Syrians initiated the war from the Golan Heights]. After all, I know how at least 80 percent of the clashes there started. In my opinion, more than 80 percent, but let's talk about 80 percent. It went this way: We would send a tractor to plough someplace where it wasn't possible to do anything, in the demilitarized area, and knew in advance that the Syrians would start to shoot. If they didn't shoot, we would tell the tractor to advance farther, until in the end Syrians would get annoyed and shoot. And then we would use artillery and later the air force also, and that's how it was. I did that, and Laskov and Chara [Zvi Tsur, Rabin's predecessor as chief of staff] did that, Yitzhak did that, but it seems to me that the person who most enjoyed these games was Dado [David Elzar, OC Northern Command, 1964-69].""

Odd Bull continued, 

"I imagine that a number of those evicted settled somewhere in the Golan Heights and that their children have watched the land that had been in their families for hundreds of years being cultivated by Israeli farmers. From time to time they opened fire on these farmers. That, of course, was a violation of the armistice agreement, though I could not help thinking that in similar circumstances Norwegian peasants would almost certainly have acted in the same way"

The truth hurts, but much more so for the ethnically cleansed villagers of the Golan Heights. 

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