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Visiting Non-Jewish Populations Of Israel: Part 3: Druze in the Golan Heights

By Shaqooq fil Jidar - Posted on 06 September 2015

After a night in Jaffa, we went up to the Golan Heights and met the Druze who also live under harsh conditions and live with less rights than Jewish citizens within the state of Israel.  The Golan Heights was taken from Syria in 1967 during the six day war and has been occupied by Israel ever since.  There are many Arabs, including the Druze population that now live within the borders of Israel in the Golan Heights.  The lecture and tour of this Druze village about the living conditions and situation of the Druze population was very informative and interesting.  The conditions are similar to the West Bank Palestinians.  As I learn more and more about the different people of this land, the facts start blending about each group’s situation.  They are all similar, they are all horrible.  Most of them are unbelievable and they all violate international and my moral law.

My boss always says water is life.  Water is a huge issue in this part of the world.  Water is the reason Israel wanted and took the Golan Heights.  Water is something that has been used by the Israelis to occupy and control Palestinians and other Arabs in the land.  So of course, water was an issue that was discussed by the Druze tour leader.  The Golan has one of the biggest water sources in this land.  At one point, the Druze populations living in the Golan Heights weren’t allowed running water because the Israelis were diverting the water from the Golan Heights down to other parts of Israel.  Farmers in the Golan were not able to water their crops and the Druze farming population up there has almost  been completely wiped out .  To combat the lack of water, they decided to collect rain water so they built these huge water collecting barrels and then the Israeli government came in and said the rain water is their rain water and therefore, is taxable.  I know the Israeli system is insidious but this blew me away.  They tried to tax rain water, rain water.  Of course, the Druze protested and didn’t pay the tax but I was beside myself when I learned about this.  It seems to me they do anything in their power to make life unbearable for other non-Jewish populations in the land so they will eventually get fed up and leave.

  I think the thing that hit me the most while we were up there was when we were standing in an abandoned building overlooking the Syrian border.  The border is closed but you could see a long fence which divides the Golan from Syria. Families on one side of the fence have been separated from family members  on the other side of the fence for years.  If Golan Height Arabs leave Israel, they are not allowed to come  back so many people stay because they don’t want to lose their property and possessions. Also, of course now, even though it is a tough life for Arabs in Israel, at this point it is a better life than the life in Syria with the ongoing civil war.  While we stood there looking at Syria, I heard two rockets being fired in the distance, reminding me of the horrors that lie so close on the other side of the fence.  It was the first time I had ever heard a rocket in real life and it was a super, eerie and scary, knowing that the sound I was hearing was probably the death for others so close to me.  As I stared past the fence, I wondered when all of the injustice in the Middle East will end. 


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