The simple act of sitting with my American husband in a magnificent spot on the Golan Heights, captured by Israel forty-five years ago in the 1967 Six Day War, in a battle in which my first husband was fatally injured, stirs deep emotions in me. It blends my past and present into a complex mix, with which my blog readers are familiar.
Whenever I used to travel in and around the Golan Heights, particularly at night, looking at the flickering lights reflecting from the Israeli settlements on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, I was captured by its beauty, often moved to tears. That was even before Israel seized the impressive mountains, from which the Syrians habitually shelled those settlements bellow. I experienced the same emotions whenever I heard the song about the Golan Hills, written by the poet Rachel Bluwstein, who lived in Kibbutz Kineret, also on shores of the Galilee Sea.
For me, ever since the Six Day War and continuing until today, these breathtaking views as well as the song have assumed an added meaning beside the sight of the mountains and the words of the song, which coincidentally is being broadcast on the radio as I proofread this blog post.
Though Israel annexed the Golan Heights in 1981, whether or not it should return this strategic land to Syria for a secured peace agreement with that northern Arab neighbor has been part of the Israeli national dialogue since 1967.
As one who has embraced the “land for peace” formula for the purpose of safeguarding Israel both as a Jewish and a democratic State, I believe Israel should relinquish most of the land it captured. A peace treaty that would result should end all Arab territorial and historical claims against Israel.The current situation in the Arab world may pose both opportunity and risk as far a peace making is concerned. With regard to Syria and its present state, the likelihood of a peace treaty is far in the future, for Israel cannot sign an agreement with an unstable and insecure partner.
I agree that it is in Israel’s interest to negotiate peace with Syria once its post Assad government is stabilized (like many others, I believe it’s only a matter of time till Assad’s government falls). I assume, too, that no Syrian government will accept less than what the Egyptians accepted when they signed their peace agreement with Israel in 1979, that is, getting back all the land they had lost in the 1967 war. But sitting where I am, breathing the clean air, smelling the floral fragrances emanating from the fields that surround me and looking at what Israel has built in lieu if the desolation that had existed here when the area was in the hands on the Syrians, I vacillate.