Ghayth Armanazi | Syrian Media Center United Kingdom
May 24th, 2007

Re: ‘Syria's Occupied Golan Heights

The Golan: Ending Occupation, Establishing Peace

Next month the war of June 1967 reaches its fortieth anniversary. The occasion is certain to evoke painful memories but also astonishment that four decades have passed since those fateful days and the embers of that conflict continue to burn and risk becoming more explosive than ever.

Of course at the heart of that conflict lies the still unresolved cause of Palestine and the Palestinians: those occupied and those still languishing in refugee camps. In all of the last forty years never has there been a time of utter desperation comparable to what they endure today.

But no less a challenge to the prospect of rescuing the region from the threat of impending grief is the issue of the Golan Heights. After forty years of occupation ‚??and illegal annexation since 1980- no longer can that issue be ignored or overshadowed by the pressing impact of other regional eruptions.

The return of the Golan is no longer in official or ‚??popular‚?? Syrian discourse subsumed to the ‚??greater‚?? goal of liberating Palestine. It is a cause in its own right: a cause of land-grabbing, of demographic dispersal, of brutal occupation, of human rights, of international law and of the crudest form of colonisation. It can also be the key to ultimate peace, security and stability in the region, because upon its return hinges the resolution not just of the Syrian-Israeli conflict-but of the wider Arab-Israeli dispute.

After forty years of occupation of a very precious part of their patrimony, Syrians are experiencing a new passion and determination focussed on liberating their land. It is a message that the world should hear.

Ghayth Armanazi is Director of the London-based Syrian Media Center.

A conference on the Golan is to be held in London on June 16th 2007. Details can be obtained from visiting the Syrian Media Centre‚??s website www.syriamc.com or by emailing sophie@syriamc.com

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