Friday, February 22, 2013

Facing Syria From an Israeli Bunker: I Felt Very Tired and Sad
The tall man has Israeli passport. The Lebanese man has Israeli permanent residency.How many people here support President Assad?“Half and half”, they say. I know it is not true. Most of people we spoke to support him.Then it begins: barrage of clichés, they were holding forth for almost an hour. The Lebanese man begins his speech:“It is clear that Islam aims at being the enemy of the world… Look at what is happening in Egypt… I am even afraid to go back to Lebanon, now; afraid even to visit. All those Hezbollah spies there. I love Israel!”Tall, local/‘Idaho Man’ joins this serenading to Israel: “People here know how to live in peace with Jewish community. Sure, some 10% protest against the occupation. But almost all young people believe that Israel is their home. Now the Golan Heights is the quietest, the most peaceful area of Israel.”Eventually, both men depart. Yes, the Golan Heights is extremely quiet part of the world. It is because some 80% of the local people were kicked out from their homes. It is because their hamlets, villages and towns were destroyed. It is because the monstrous fences were erected. Both men also forgot to mention that terrible humming from the tops of all local hills – the radars, radios, listening devices. And they forgot to mention tanks and armored vehicles, moving up and down the narrow roads.Golan Heights – the land of cherries and apples, of ruins of villages and towns, of Israeli commandoes playing war games inside destroyed Syrian buildings.
As two men leave, we go straight to the owner of falafel restaurant.“You make the best falafel on earth”, I tell him, which is undeniable truth. “Now please, tell me what do you think about what is happening in Syria?”“I am very upset about the situation there”, he replies, slowly. “There is so much damage, so much suffering, again. It is not correct what is happening there. I worry about my family across the border. Many people here call those ‘revolutionaries’ in Syria – the terrorists. Was the situation better before the ‘uprising’ began? Most definitely.”It is our second day here, the end of the second day.
A small group gathers inside of the sweets shop. Food in Majdal al-Shams is exquisite. The outspokenness of the local people is simply remarkable.
And what we hear from the local people is exactly the opposite from what is served to us by the official Israeli propaganda:[[[[[[[[[“We want to go back to Syria. Rebels are terrorists. Assad is on the West’s way to Iran; the West and Israel want to push him aside and have their path cleared towards Teheran. We all know that Qatar is paying for the ‘rebels’. If Russia and China do not give in to the West, Assad will never fall.”Before we parted the previous day, the guard at the road to Lebanon clarified: “We are all connected with Syria here. We watch Syrian television; we are following the events. Most of the local people here identify themselves with Assad. We like Assad here. But in the West and in Israel, they simply hate intelligent Arab leaders. They like and support those idiots in Qatar, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia!”]]]]]]]]It is actually exactly the same point of view that I heard from people of Hatay, on the border between Turkey and Syria, where I investigated Western training camps that are manufacturing so called ‘Syrian Opposition’.People also complain about the Israeli control of the housing stock. There has to be an official permit to build any new house, and such a permit costs a fortune. In this town alone, some 1.000 houses are lacking; Israelis simply do not allow Druze towns to grow – growth is reserved only for the Jewish settlements. People live in crammed conditions. The houses built without official permits get demolished.And then we are told about the structure of ‘democracy’ in this occupied territory: “Syrian citizens – the great majority – have no right to vote. Israel imposes its own handpicked Druze representatives, to form so-called ‘village or town councils’. They all consist of collaborators and they carry Israeli passports and identification cards. It goes without saying that those councils are not here to serve the interests of the local population.”As I drive further, my eyes fall on enormous Nimrod Fortress, built around 1229 by Al-Aziz Uthman, nephew of Saladin and younger son of Al-Adil I. It was named Qala’at al-Subeiba, “Castle of the Large Cliff” in Arabic and it was supposed to preempt an attack on Damascus by participants of the Sixth Crusade. How paradox this is! An enormous, powerful structure that used to protect Muslim world from aggression and terror coming from early Western imperialists, now appears to be helpless and obsolete, sadly hugging the cliff, unable to offer any resistance.I am thinking about Joul Jamal. He told me, in Haifa: “Israel will be forced to return Golan Heights, one day. But it will not do it voluntarily. Colonialists have to be forced to withdraw. Palestine and Golan Heights, they are very important: as they are at the frontline of the war against imperialism.”
[ed notes:click link for whole piece,just citing few excerpts,due to length,then also read..

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