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The Way the World Doesn’t Work

My late friend Jude Wanniski wrote a great, best-selling book many years ago titled "The Way the World Works."

But it seems to me the elite internationalists are doing their darnedest to remake the world in a way that clearly doesn’t work.

Take, for example, European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana’s recent proclamation that his confederation of nations that brought us the two global wars of the 20th century will support Syria in efforts to regain the Golan Heights.

It is, of course, necessary in this day of geographical and political illiteracy to explain that the Golan Heights is a 15-by 32-mile high plateau region between Israel, Lebanon and Syria.

It is a highly strategic piece of real estate because of its 3,000-foot altitude above the plains of Galilee. Anyone who controls it looks down on the three neighboring countries.

There is a cacophony of international cries today for this land to be returned to Syria, from whom Israel captured it in the 1967 Six-Day War and again in 1973 after Syria briefly recaptured it and used the high ground for a massive armored assault on the Jewish state.
What no one ever seems to notice or mention is the fact that for most of the 40 years the Golan has been under the control of Israelis, there has been only that one outbreak of major hostilities between Israel and Syria — only one major conventional war. And it is worth pointing out that the 1973 war would not have been much of an engagement had Syria not first taken the Golan as a staging ground.

Nevertheless, those who want to remake the world in a way that clearly doesn’t work seek to return the Golan to Syria.

But is it even accurate and proper to use the word "return" in this case?

What is the history of the Golan? To whom does it rightfully belong?

I’ll bet it will surprise almost everyone reading this column today — perhaps even many Israelis — to learn that the Golan, which so many assume to be the undisputed territory of Syria, has been out of Damascus’ control for far longer than it was within its control. It also might shock readers to learn how Syria gained control of the Golan Heights for the 19 years prior to 1967.

Syria stole it — at least part of it — from Jews.

Before I continue, I just want to remind you who is providing this rich historical background: I am the grandson of a Syrian and Lebanese union — an Arab-American who had the privilege to cover this region of the world as a journalist.

Tens of thousands of acres of farmland on the Golan were purchased by Jews as far back as the late 19th century. The Turks of the Ottoman Empire kicked out some of them around the turn of the century. But much of this land was still farmed until 1947, when Syria first became an independent state. Syria quickly seized the land that was being worked by the Palestine Colonization Association and the Jewish Colonization Association.

A year later, Syria, along with other Arab countries, tried to do the same thing to the new nation of Israel.

Despite this undisputed history, few people in the world today — even in Israel itself — comprehend it is a myth that the Golan Heights has always been a Syrian territory, that it is unarguably Syrian real estate.

Again, it has been out of Syria’s hands for 40 years. It was in Syria’s hands for only 19 — and at least part of the Golan was stolen from rightful Jewish property owners who had purchased the title deeds.

Nevertheless, don’t expect this revelation to sway the great minds of the internationalists — Solana included. They will keep trying to bring peace to the Middle East by giving Syria the high ground it needs to launch the next attack on its neighbor.

Written By

Mr. Farah is a nationally syndicated columnist.

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