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A Big Step for a Greater Israel
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Hardly anyone noticed. The Trump administration quietly changed America’s long-held position on Syria’s strategic Golan Heights while attention was focused on the raucous political carnival in Washington. Though barely noticed, the policy change had enormous importance and will lead the United States into a lot of future Mideast misery.

The Golan Heights is a volcanic plateau that abuts Syria, Israel, Jordan and Lebanon. The plateau rises abruptly from the plain of Galilee, providing dominance of the entire region. To the north, Mt Hermon rises to over 9,000 feet (2,814 meters); the plateau slopes down at its southern extremity.

Golan provides the headwaters of the Jordan River and 15-20% of Israel’s water from its snow-capped north. Israeli artillery atop Golan can hit Damascus and its airport. Electronic intelligence systems on Golan look down onto southern Syria, intercepting all communications and detecting troop movements.

The plateau is quite fascinating. I have walked most of the Israeli-held side, observing dug-in tanks, artillery and small forts surrounded by anti-tank ditches. Burned out wrecks of Syrian tanks and armor litter the countryside. I’ve also walked the Syrian side and explored the wrecked Syrian town of Kuneitra that was leveled by the Israelis in 1967.

Israel seized Golan in the 1967 Arab-Israeli War and annexed the plateau in 1981. Almost all of Golan’s Arab population was driven out by the Israelis. The UN and US demanded that Israel return Golan to its rightful owner, Syria. After 1981, Israel moved over 20,000 settlers onto Golan to cement its control of the strategic heights and its water sources.

During the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, Syrian forces came close to pushing Israeli forces off Golan. Both sides suffered heavy casualties. For still unknown reasons, the Syrian armored offensive abruptly halted just as it reached the western edge of the plateau overlooking northern Israel.

My understanding is that Soviet recon satellites saw Israel deploying its nuclear bombs and missiles from their cave shelters. Moscow warned ally Syria that it risked nuclear attack by Israel unless its forces halted their advance so the Syrian offensive stopped on the verge of tactical success. This allowed Israel to concentrate enough reserve armored divisions to successfully counter-attack and drive Syria from the heights.

Since 1973, America’s policy has been to demand Israel relinquish Golan while quietly allowing US tax deductible funds to expand Jewish settlements on the plateau. Israel even reportedly offered to return Golan in exchange for a peace deal with Syria, but the secret terms of the deal were too onerous for Damascus.

The Trump administration abruptly changed US Mideast policy. First, it announced the US Embassy would move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, meaning that it rejected the idea of a Palestinian state with its capital in the old city of Jerusalem. Now, the White House has quietly accepted permanent Israeli control of Golan, though it violates international law and past US policy.


It’s clear that US Mideast policy is firmly under the control of the neocons aligned to Israel’s expansionist far right parties. In fact, it is impossible to see any difference between the policies of Israel’s hard rightwing leader, Benyamin Netanyahu, and President Donald Trump. They are joined at the hip. A coterie of pro-Israel lawyers and property developers from New York City have completely taken control of Mideast policy.

More important, what the change in US Golan policy means is that Trump & Co are giving a green light to further Israeli territorial expansion. Now that Washington, which decries Russia’s much more justified annexation of Crimea, has approved the illegal annexation of Golan, what could be next? Likely further chunks of southern Syria, an invasion of Lebanon and annexation of its water resources.

Saudi Arabia and its little ally, the United Arab Emirates, have already been given a green light by Washington to carve out strongholds in Yemen and along the strategic Red Sea coast. This is the Mideast ‘peace’ settlement that candidate Trump promised; an increasingly close alliance with the Mideast’s most reactionary states, notably the murderous Saudi regime. This bodes ill for the United States.

(Republished from by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Israel, Israel/Palestine 
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  1. Alistair says:

    I’m not surprised, because increasingly Israel is becoming a US oversea’s territory like Alaska or Hawaii, so, the American government will always protect Israel – no matter what.

    The reality is that since early 1970’s, the US government has been hijacked by the Zionist special interests; the US foreign policy has been running from Tel Aviv-Jerusalem, because Israeli-Zionist operators inside of the USA are effectively in control of the entire US government, the Congress is virtually owned by shaddy characters like Sheldon Adelson and the likes, who are “Israel Firsters”- they have their first allegiance to the Zionist-Tribe of Israel.

    The good news is that with the diminishing US influence around the world, the Zionist-Americans will have less proxy-influence over the world affairs, until such time they could find the next “Sucker-Superpower”- and just as they left the UK and Germany after the WW2, they will also leave America; let’s just hope before igniting the WW3. May lord protect us all from the evil influences.

    • Disagree: Bill Jones
  2. turtle says:

    Jews will find it difficult to “pass” in mainland China.
    Their best bet will be to court and marry Chinese women and jump the wives into the Tribe, a.k.a. “convert them to Judaism” (what do they do, change the DNA?)
    That way, all the half-Chinese offspring, as children of “Jewish” mothers. will be Jews.
    Notice that Schmuckerberg has a Chinese wife.

    Fifty years on, some “Israeli archaeologists” might discover, mirabile dictu, that China was home to ancient “settlements” of Jews, and that Shanghai should, by rights, be part of “Greater Israel.”

    Meanwhile, the Jew-nighted Estates of America will remain useful only so long as it can provide the means to murder Arabs, Persians, and any other “enemies of the peace-loving Jewish people.”

    Once the corpse of the JEA is picked clean, it will be abandoned.

    • Replies: @sarz
    , @Colin Wright
  3. turtle says:

    IIRC, Damascus is the oldest continuously inhabited city on Earth, whereas Jerusalem is “Number Two.”
    The destruction of Damascus would allow the Jews to claim their “eternal capital” was in fact the oldest inhabited city on Earth, and that, by extension, they themselves were “keepers of ancient civilization.”

    Needless to say, this would have enormous propaganda value.

    You might look for some denizen(s) of the Knesset to commence ending every speech with the refrain “Damascus delenda est” (or its Hebrew translation) in the near future.

    • Replies: @Kratoklastes
  4. @Alistair

    “…increasingly Israel is becoming a US oversea’s territory…”

    It would be more accurate to write, “increasingly the USA is becoming an Israeli oversea’s territory”. The situation for the last half century or so has truly been a case of the tail wagging the dog.

    While Israel continues its war crimes and atrocities and even though many of these have deliberately targeted the USA — e.g., the criminal attack on the USS Liberty, constant devastating espionage like that perpetrated by Jonathan Pollard , protection of multi-million dollar scams often targeting US citizens and international sex slave operations sometimes targeting US children — the US continues to provide Israel with massive amounts of foreign aid funding.

    But most seriously, the Zionist infested establishment of this country, inside and outside the government, constantly involves the USA in Israel’s criminal and genocidal attempts to destabilize the entirety of the Middle East and North Africa. This not only promotes a situation contrary to the interests of most US citizens. It also makes all of us US citizens appear complicit in Israel’s war crimes and genocides. And Israel does this at the expense of American blood and treasure since Israel uses the USA as a cat’s paw for its crimes, preserving its own youth for the safe, criminal and thuggish suppression of the rightful inhabitants of the Levant, the Palestinian nation.

    • Replies: @Alistair
  5. Alistair says:
    @Jus' Sayin'...

    You are absolutely right about ” the tail wagging the dog”; I’m glad that my post had engendered such reflection, thank you for the correction.

  6. Anon[388] • Disclaimer says:

    Your writing style merits laud, Mr. Cockburn.

    As to the “this bodes ill for the USA”, I don’t think any party damaged by the actors backed by the USA in the Middle East has capacity to retaliate, and cannot see any danger for the USA (except if they attack China and/or Russia frontally, which is a separate question).

  7. anon[355] • Disclaimer says:

    The USA is completely controlled by its Jewish lobby. This is the only real reason why the US is always meddling in the Mideast.

    • Replies: @Eileen Kuch
  8. Likely further chunks of southern Syria, an invasion of Lebanon and annexation of its water resources.

    Not likely, a major deployment from the US/NATO/Coalition of the unwilling would first need to materialize. An action in Gaza would have been much easier – the Israeli security establishment refused despite their hawkish rhetoric, after which their defense minister resigned.

    The dirty secret is that while Israeli leaders win votes by talking tough, they know well that their ground forces do not have the will to fight, and a failure in the field would spell the end of their lucrative political careers.

    This plan might have succeeded years ago, but these days the US can’t meet its recruitment goals, France has its hands full with the gilets jaunes, the UK has its hands full with Brexit, etc. Both are mulling conscription to bridge the gap, but conscripts tend to throw their grenades at their officers. Pot-bellied, Krav Maga-wielding Evangelical ninjas from Missouri will not turn the tide against Syria, Russia, Hezbollah, and other pro-Iran militias.

    The latest US statement on the Golan Heights is a response to Assad’s promise to retake it, as well as the Druze in the Golan boycotting Israeli-held elections. Trump also wants to keep the Israel lobby with symbolism and rhetoric becaue ambitious plans are likely to fail.

    • Replies: @Alistair
  9. It’s been an open secret for decades that Washington is another Israeli occupied territory.
    It’s been an open secret in the CIA that Israel spies on the US more than any ‘adversary.’
    The Dems and Repubs are equally responsible.
    Remember the USS Liberty.

    • Agree: Ace
  10. Alistair says:

    The Zionist agenda is and always will be the “Greater Israel”; these people are known to have sharp elbows, so, regardless of circumstances in Israeli politics, in America or in Europe, the Zionist agenda remains the expansion of Israel’s territory by any means; at whatever the cost they keep pursuing their agenda until a significant change in the global order force them to stop.

    These people are well known to have sharp elbows, so, they keep pushing, taking, stealing, killing, corrupting and bribing until someone or something stop them; this is the historical fact, and yet, it keeps repeating itself since the dawn of history.

  11. JLK says:

    If Israel didn’t have nuclear weapons, it would have a pretty good argument that it needs the Golan for security purposes. As things stand, the annexation of the Golan seems to be more about lebensraum and access to water resources.

  12. the zionist entity and its dreams about lebensraum have met a force it can not defeat in modern Hezbollah, the Golan question will solve itself soon enough.

  13. @turtle

    I would be enormously surprised if Jerusalem was even in the top 10 – mythological existence doesn’t count.

    If mythology does count, even that doesn’t help Jerusalem get into the top 10 – because according to Indian myth Varanasi has existed for 5,000 years, which would drive “mythical existence included” Jerusalem back to No 11 (behind Luoyang – Xi’an would also leap up the rankings because local Chinese legend says it existed for 3000 years before there’s any evidence).

    Within the region, Damascus, Jericho, Aleppo, Byblos, Sidon and Beirut all predate Jerusalem, even counting the mythical period. It’s a coin toss for Tyre, Jenin, Irbil, Kirkuk, Gaziantep and Ankara and Balkh.

    Rey (in Iran) has existed since about 6000 BCE, however it never gets on the list – because by the 1800s CE its only occupants were members of a religious order tending the shrine of Abdul-Azzim. That does not count as ‘continuously occupied’ even though there were people in the location at all points in time from ~6000BCE onwards.

    If the mythological period is ignored, then Kabul is older than Jerusalem – as is Xi’an, Handan, Beijing, and Zibo.

    As Israel Finkelstein has shown quite capably: the archaeological evidence for a settlement in Jerusalem prior to the 14th century BCE is at best scant; tends to have been ‘found’ by archaeologists who had (ahem) cultural incentives to overstate their evidence; and should be taken with a grain of salt.

    • Replies: @sarz
  14. Janko says:

    Regarding the “evangelicals”,they are unfortunately a BITCH for Israel,on another note,just before the California Fires,the “celebrities had a Gala in Beverly Hills,where they collected money for the Palestinian children,oh very sorry, ” i made on purpose mistake,”it were not for the children,but for the ISRAELI Army, so they can kill more Palestinian and other children they collected over 60 Millions,Endelson gave 10 Millions himself

  15. “… though it violates international law ….”

    I guess I missed that part in law school. International law, especially with respect to territorial integrity, falls away in the face of the maxim, possession is nine tenths of the law. John Lennon once stated that possession is 100 percent of the problem. Either way, the Israelis are there until some bigger kid on the block manages to kick them and their junkyard dog out.

  16. sarz says:

    Here is something about Jews and China:

    The Opium Wars were very much a Jewish project, led by Iraqi Jew Sassoon and implemented locally by a village of Chinese-looking Jews.

  17. sarz says:

    The city we call Jerusalem suffers a case of mistaken identity. This is not Ur-Salem, the city of David. That is a village near the Yemen border on the southwest side of Arabia. A number of trouble-making tribes of that area, including the Jews, were forcibly relocated to Babylon – the famous Babylonian captivity, and by the time they were set free many decades later by Cyrus the Great the Jews had picked up the load of Babylonian satanism that is the mainstay of their ‘religion’, but they had also forgotten the way home. They landed up in Palestine instead and made the most of it. Ashraf Ezzat for one has written about it, pointing out that the word “pharaoh” pertains to small chieftains in the Yemen border area, it was never used by Egyptians to refer to their kings. There was no Egyptian captivity. It was all local small stuff. That’s why the Jews’ Bible never mentions pyramids. The Egypt stuff is all made-up. These guys have been lying for ever.

  18. mr meener says:

    I heard the reason pissrael had a truce with hamas that caused the demon mass murderer Avid-gore LIE berman to resign was after hamas targeted the Israeli bus with great accuracy they told satanyahu that ben Gurion airport was next

  19. ‘…It’s clear that US Mideast policy is firmly under the control of the neocons aligned to Israel’s expansionist far right parties…’

    In other news, the days are growing shorter and the weather colder as we move into December. Also, as one moves out to sea, things get wetter.

  20. @Alistair

    ‘I’m not surprised, because increasingly Israel is becoming a US oversea’s territory like Alaska or Hawaii, so, the American government will always protect Israel – no matter what.’

    This is backwards. We’re becoming an Israeli colonial appendage. Perhaps Israel is Britain to our India.

    • Replies: @Alistair
  21. @The Alarmist

    ‘…I guess I missed that part in law school. International law, especially with respect to territorial integrity, falls away in the face of the maxim, possession is nine tenths of the law. John Lennon once stated that possession is 100 percent of the problem. Either way, the Israelis are there until some bigger kid on the block manages to kick them and their junkyard dog out.’

    You’re another closet Zionist, aren’t you?

    Happily, you’re wrong. The Israelis are there until we pull the plug. Then they disappear not only from the Golan, but from the entirety of Palestine as well.

  22. @turtle

    ‘…Fifty years on, some “Israeli archaeologists” might discover, mirabile dictu, that China was home to ancient “settlements” of Jews, and that Shanghai should, by rights, be part of “Greater Israel.”…’

    Ironically, there were Jewish communities in China. They died out in the nineteenth century, if I recall aright.

    Jews have always been an international people. They first enter the historical record around the sixth century BC, when they more or less simultaneously appear in Mesopotamia, Palestine, and Egypt. Judaism as a faith draws on Mesopotamian folklore and attaches a cultic significance to Jerusalem.

  23. Alistair says:
    @Colin Wright

    You’re absolutely right, but not quite yet, after all, Israel is just a small and insignificant country, compare to mighty USA; it’s like a tail wagging the dog; how long can the tail sustain that, not long. but the real adversary is the “International Zionist Tribe” who are so deeply infiltrated into the American Government Institutions, but unlike past superpowers: Spain, UK, Russia, and Germany whom end up to be the big Suckers, the US might still be able to get rid of this unwarranted influence in America peacefully, I hope !

  24. @anon

    I agree with you 100%. It’s the Jewish Lobby AIPAC that totally controls the US, and that’s the real reason the US continues to meddle in the Mideast,

  25. Alistair says:
    @The Alarmist

    …. “possession is nine tenths of the law”

    Nice try, but I think you should get a refund from your law school; if this is your argument then how do you explain that Jews did not have any possession in the middle east for nearly 2000 years, and yet they came and expropriate the homeland of Palestinians. You should go back to the law school, or get a refund !!!

    • Replies: @The Alarmist
  26. @Alistair

    That’s the kind of response I would expect from people who think the world is governed by the rule of law.

    • Replies: @Alistair
  27. Prior to the creation of Israel in 1948, approximately 800,000 Jews were living in lands that now make up the Arab world. .. In total, of the 900,000 Jews who left Arab and other Muslim [Turkey, Iran, etc.] countries, 600,000 settled in the new state of Israel, and 300,000 migrated to France and the United States. .. In 2009, only 26,000 Jews remained in Arab countries and Iran and 26,000 in Turkey.


    The descendants of the Jewish immigrants from the region, known as Mizrahi Jews (“Eastern Jews”) and Sephardic Jews (“Spanish Jews”), currently constitute more than half of the total population of Israel .

    In other words, in the sense of being indigenous by population genetics to the larger Arab world: Israel is an Arab country.

    Also, Israel vs. enemies is a small fraction of the conflict in the region.

    The Arabs are learning to value development and peaceful relations and government by consent, as opposed to conquest and aggression. Folks are pretty hotheaded down there — it’s a slow learning process, and will likely take several more generations for things to settle down.

    In the meantime, the neighborhood needs grown-ups with cool heads. And muscle. This is the crucial role played by the USA-Israel alliance.

    • Troll: Colin Wright
    • Replies: @anon
  28. Alistair says:
    @The Alarmist

    Ironically, you’re an student of law or working in legal field but you don’t believe in rule of law !!!

    • Replies: @The Alarmist
  29. @Alistair

    Actually, I’m an aerospace engineer working in finance who studied law to get around obstacles it presented.

    • Replies: @Alistair
  30. Alistair says:
    @The Alarmist

    …. “Actually, I’m who studied law to get around obstacles it presented”

    So, you’re a Con-Artist, just like all your fellow Zionist lawyers who studied law to get around the legal system, there’s nothing unique about your kind – well known to have sharp elbows; unethical. immoral, and opportunistic con-artists who are holding a PhD from Yale or Harvard, and perhaps a Doctorate from University of Haifa, nevertheless, a Con-Artist !!!

  31. anon[355] • Disclaimer says:

    Strictly speaking there is NO alliance. And America gains nothing by being part of this mess. Your argument is so patently self-serving you must be a Jew.

  32. @The Alarmist

    ” John Lennon once stated that possession is 100 percent of the problem.”
    But he kept his \$100 Million.

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