Golan Heights

A region that borders southwestern Syria, southern Lebanon, northeastern Israel and northwestern Jordan. Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria during the 1967 War and formally annexed the region in December 1981, although the annexation has not been recognized internationally. The area is an important source of water, and has strategic military implications as well. The 20,000-strong Syrian Druze community, most of whom have retained their Syrian identity/citizenship, now live under Israeli rule. There are more than 30 Jewish Israeli settlements in the Golan Heights, inhabited by approximately 20,000 settlers. The return of the Golan Heights to Syria by Israel has proven to be a major stumbling block for a Syrian-Israeli peace treaty. See "The Golan Heights Annexed by Israel in an Abrupt Move," David Shipler, The New York Times,Dec 14, 1981. For information about the Syrian Druze community, see "In the Golan Heights, Anxious Eyes Look East," Isabel Kershner, New York Times, May 21, 2011.

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