Going over the Golan

Fissures in the Middle East are exploding. The clashes on the Golan Heights border town, in which Israel used force to disperse Syrian protesters, were not an isolated incident.

This could become an order of the day as the Arab population in the conflict zones is in a state of flux. Syrians who are facing the barrel of the gun have been trying to sneak into the bordering countries, and the recent clashes on the Lebanese border are a case in point. However, this clash in the Golan Valley is different from the perspective that people here chose to stage a rally to defy the artificial lines of demarcation, and to vent their anger against Israeli occupation of their territory. The event coincided with the 44th anniversary of the 1967 Middle East war and henceforth Tel Aviv’s encroachment of the strategic heights. Though it is untenable to believe that unarmed protesters could pose even an iota of challenge to the Israeli might, it goes on to prove the simmering unrest that has not been addressed for decades, and how serious this could turn out to be.

The 300 or so odd Syrian agitators are just a stark reminder of geopolitical upheavals in the making, and which are getting compounded this time around with unrest at home and on the international front. With volatility in the region on the rise, it seems to be a perfect time for addressing the inevitable. US President Barack Obama has made a strong point by advising Israel to go back to the borders of 1967, and make permanent peace with its Arab neighbours. The fact that none of the Middle East nations who have a territorial dispute with the Jewish state have objected to the new roadmap should be read as an encouraging and feasible route to peace and security. Israel neither has any moral locus standi nor any more rabbits to pull from its hat in confronting this new equation. Trading land for peace is sine qua non and cannot be dispensed with. The sooner it is done, the better. At the same time, it would be futile for Damascus to play to the gallery, especially at times when a serious uprising for fundamental rights is raging right under its nose. Sympathising with the Palestinians is justified but not before putting to rest the concerns that Syrians nurse on their own turf. Going over the Golan shouldn’t merely be a stunt. Israel can best be confronted when Arab countries are on the same wavelength and without any skeletons in the cupboard.

Khaleej Times

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