Slouching Towards Jerusalem

Map of the Golan Heights
Map of the Golan Heights

The Obama Administration may have convinced itself that an Iranian military presence in the Syrian Golan Heights is no big deal and might even represent a positive development, one that might eventually force both Iran and Israel to reconsider the nature of their antagonistic relationship. A simple and rational cost-benefit analysis, or so the thinking seems to go in this regard, should in time encourage both sides to agree on some kind of détente, one that could pave the way for formal recognition, and even, cooperation in the not-so-distant future.

Continue reading “Slouching Towards Jerusalem”

As Regime Teeters, Jews Mull Outreach to Rebel Fighters

“There are many in the opposition who believe that Israeli concerns over change in Syria are, in part at least, behind the lack of a more proactive response by the international community to the situation in Syria,” said Ammar Abdulhamid, a Syrian pro-democracy activist. Abdulhamid is a fellow at Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a non-partisan Washington think tank that serves as an academic home for many neo-conservative thinkers. The group has emerged as one of the key players in forging ties with the budding Syrian opposition and urging a more active U.S. role in bringing about the demise of the Assad regime… “The agreed line by the opposition is that the status quo in the Golan Heights will be maintained until conditions permit for organizing peace talks,” said Abdulhamid, referring to Israel’s occupation of that area since the 1967 Six Day War. This approach could satisfy Jewish and pro-Israel groups whose focus on Syria’s future government in any event prioritizes other concerns.

Simple Facebook question raises problems around the world

Quoted in CNN

Facebook recently changed its listing for the Golan Heights — which Israel captured from Syria in 1967 — so users there could choose to say whether they live in Israel or Syria.

It was responding to pressure from a pro-Israel group called HonestReporting — and from Facebook users who set up a group on the site itself called “Facebook, Golan Residents Live in Israel, not Syria.” Continue reading “Simple Facebook question raises problems around the world”

Facebook gets caught in Golan Heights dispute

Quoted in CNN

JERUSALEM (CNN) — Logging onto Facebook as a resident in the Golan Heights, should you enter Syria or Israel as your home country? … “We deal with the listings for disputed territories on a case-by-case basis, and with Golan Heights we decided a dual listing made sense in this instance.”

Reaction from Syria is likely to be muted according to Syrian scholar, Ammar Abdulhamid. He told CNN that Facebook and other social networking sites have already been banned in Syria. “The Syrian government has really taken a strong stance on Internet activism and social networking sites,” he said. Continue reading “Facebook gets caught in Golan Heights dispute”