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Israel approves Mammoth Golan Heights Plan

  • Category
    International Relations
  • Published
    3rd Jan, 2022

Context

The Israeli government approved a one-billion-shekel ($317 million) plan for the development of the Golan Heights, in a bid to double the population of the territory occupied by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War.

About

  • The Golan Heights, a rocky plateau in south-western Syria, has a political and strategic significance which belies its size. 
  • The heights give Israel an excellent vantage point for monitoring Syrian movements. The topography provides a natural buffer against any military thrust from Syria. 
  • The area is also a key source of water for an arid region. Rainwater from the Golan's catchment feeds into the Jordan River. 
  • The land is fertile, and the volcanic soil is used to cultivate vineyards and orchards and raise cattle. The Golan is also home to Israel's only ski resort.

Key-highlights of the Plan

  • The plan aims to build 7,300 settler homes in the region over a five-year period.
  • It calls for 1 billion Israeli shekels to be spent on housing, infrastructure and other projects with the goal of attracting roughly 23,000 new Jewish settlers to the area, seized during the 1967 Six Day War.

1967 Mideast War

  • Israel occupied the Golan Heights in the 1967 Mideast war and later annexed the territory, promoting settlement and agriculture there as well as creating a thriving local tourism industry.
  • The US was the first country to recognise Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan, which the rest of the international community regards as Israeli-occupied.
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