The Golan Heights or simply the Golan, is a region in the Levant, spanning about 1,800 square kilometers (690 sq mi). The region defined as the Golan Heights differs between disciplines, as a geological and biogeographically region, the Golan Heights is a basaltic plateau bordered by the Yarmouk River in the south, the Sea of Galilee and Hula Valley in the west, the Anti-Lebanon with Mount Hermon in the north and Wadi Raqqad in the east; and as a geopolitical region, the Golan Heights is the area captured from Syria and occupied by Israel during the Six-Day War, territory which Israel effectively annexed in 1981. This region includes the western two-thirds of the geological Golan Heights, as well as the Israeli-occupied part of Mount Hermon.
The earliest evidence of human habitation on the Golan dates to the The Itureans, an Arab or Aramaic people, settled there in the 2nd century BCE and remained until the end of the Byzantine period. Organized Jewish settlement in the region came to an end in 636 CE when it was conquered by Arabs under Umar ibn al-Khattāb. In the 16th century, the Golan was conquered by the Ottoman Empire and was part of the Vilayet of Damascus until it was transferred to French mandate in 1918. When the mandate terminated in 1946, it became part of the newly independent Syrian Republic.
Since the 1967 Six-Day War, the western two-thirds of the Golan Heights has been occupied and administered by Israel, whereas the eastern third had remained under control of the Syrian Arab Republic. After the onset of the Syrian Civil War the control split between the government and opposition forces, with the UNDOF maintaining a 266 km2 (103 sq mi) buffer zone in between, to implement the ceasefire of the Purple Line.[ From 2012 to 2018, the eastern Golan Heights became a scene of repeated battles between the Syrian Arab Army, rebel factions of the Syrian opposition including the moderate Southern Front, jihadist al-Nusra Front, and ISIL-affiliated factions. In July 2018, the Syrian government regained control of the eastern Golan Heights, Construction of Israeli settlements began in the remainder of the territory held by Israel, which was under military administration until Israel passed the Golan Heights Law extending Israeli law and administration throughout the territory in 1981. This move was condemned by the United Nations Security Council in Resolution 497, which stated that “the Israeli decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction, and administration in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights is null and void and without international legal effect”, and Resolution 242, which emphasizes “inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war”. Israel maintains it has a right to retain the Golan, also citing the text of UN Resolution 242, which calls for “safe and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force”. On March 25, 2019 this part was recognized by the United States as an integral part of Israel, making the United States the only country to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the effectively annexed regions.
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Luqmaan Mohamed Faarah
MA of International Relation’s