The Golan Heights — A Name to Remember!

Michael Weddle
4 min readMar 11, 2019


[NOTE: Originally published as a Facebook Note on December 28, 2015]

Golan Heights

Annexed — verb (used with object) 1) to attach, append, or add, especially to something larger or more important. 2) to incorporate (territory) into the domain of a city, country, or state:Germany annexed part of Czechoslovakia. 3) to take or appropriate, especially without permission. 4) to attach as an attribute, condition, or consequence.

At the close of the 1967 Six Day War, Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria and never returned the land. Many Syrian Arabs fled during the fighting. Much like Israel has encroached settlements on Palestinian land in the West Bank and in Gaza, it immediately began establishing Golan settlements. Syria attempted to retake the Golan Heights in the 1973 Middle East War, but failed.

In 1974, a UN observer peacekeeping force was established to separate the two nations. It remains today. After seizing the land in 1967, Israel drove out about 130,000 Syrians. The land is presently occupied by about 20,000 Israelis who live in illegal settlements and about 20,000 Druze Syrians also reside in the territory in a complicated relationship. The Israelis did not kick out the Druze because it also has a sizable Druze population.

In 1981, Israel unilaterally annexed the Golan Heights without any international recognition. The annexation ultimately was rejected by UN Security Council Resolution 497. Numerous US presidents and US ambassadors, to no avail, have sought for Israel to return the land back to Syria as part of several negotiated peace packages.

So what are the consequences to this stalemate? Clearly, Israel wishes to keep the Golan for military advantage as it’s a perfect lookout post for monitoring Syrian military movements and it prevents Syria from shelling bombardments into Israel which Syria had done for many years following Israel founding nationhood. Importantly, Israel now receives about one-third of its water needs from Golan rainwater feeding the Jordan River, and there are also agricultural benefits to holding the territory.

Now for the nitty-gritty. The Golan Heights, a disputed land long held in limbo and forgotten by many on an international front, will, in the future, become a name to remember.

In October, Afek, an Israeli subsidiary of Genie Energy, a US oil company, announced the Golan Heights has potential to produce a billion barrels of oil! It has already begun drilling, although this drilling is not yet extensive.

Here’s the skinny on Genie Energy, as described from the below reference:

“Genie’s founder, Howard Jonas, an American Jewish millionaire, made political contributions to Netanyahu’s recent campaign for the Likud party’s primaries. Its ‘strategic advisory board’ includes Dick Cheney, the US vice-president under George Bush and widely regarded as the architect of the American invasion of Iraq in 2003.

“Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch is also an adviser. He controls large sections of the rightwing English-language media, including his most influential outlet, the US TV news station Fox News. In September, Genie added Larry Summers, a senior official under Democratic Presidents Bill Clinton and Obama, and James Woolsey, a former CIA director who became a neo-conservative cheerleader for the invasion of Iraq.

“The chairman of Afek, Genie’s Israeli subsidiary, is Effi Eitam, a far-right former general and cabinet minister who lives in an illegal settlement in the Golan. His far-right views include demands to expel both Palestinians from the occupied territories and the large minority of Palestinian citizens from Israel.”

There is nothing in international law that enables Israel, as an occupier, to legally extract for its own use and profit resources from land taken by war. This is clearly stipulated by the 1907 Hague Convention. Israeli is trying very hard to get the US to recognize its annexation of the Golan Heights as legitimate which would make its oil-drilling actions easier. President Obama is not on board for doing this.

Also complicating matters is the fact Russia now has a strong military presence in Syria, both in the air, on the ground and at sea. For decades Russia has maintained a very large naval base in Syria. It will not see Syria fall either to ISIS or the Israelis.

If Genie Energy, with the likes of Dick Cheney and Rupert Murdoch at the strategic helm, begins conducting large scale oil operations in the Golan, be rest assured the shit is gonna hit the fan and its spread will be ugly!

Below is a view of The Jerusalem Post of Russia’s presence in Syria, without mentioning the billion barrel oil deal:

All of this should become red meat as an issue for future US presidential debates. It’s certainly worth noting! If anything, this particular issue shows how unhealthy it would be for America to vote for a war hawk into the presidency. This eliminates Hillary Clinton and all of the Republican field of candidates.

Vote for peace folks! Let’s stop the killing over oil and get a green economy moving forward. Let’s not just help America … let’s help the planet!

Originally published at



Michael Weddle

Founder of Boston’s Climate Change Band; former NH State Representative; Created Internet’s 1st Anti-War Debate; Supporter of Bernie Sanders & Standing Rock!