Residents: Golan belongs to the Jewish people (April 24)

Leaders intend to push referendum bill through to prevent government from making a "fatal mistake."

Golan Heights 224 88 aj (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski  [file])
Golan Heights 224 88 aj
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Heads of Israeli towns in the Golan Heights convened for an emergency meeting following reports that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had agreed to relinquish the Golan Heights to Syria. "The heads of Golan communities emphasize that the Golan belongs to the Jewish people, who will never agree to relinquish it," the Committee of Golan Heights Community Heads announced in a statement. They also decided that construction and development of the Golan would continue, "out of certainty that any attempt to damage Israeli sovereignty in the Golan constitutes a grievous threat to national security and is destined to fail." Head of the Katzin Local Council, Sammy Bar-Lev, said the community heads were "convinced everybody understands that the Golan has been a sovereign part of the state for years and we will never return it. We have been living on Israel's quietest border for many years and the Israelis who come here to visit say in opinion polls that 80 percent of them are not willing to make concessions on the Golan." The heads of Golan communities mentioned that also in the prime ministerial terms of Ehud Barak and Binyamin Netanyahu, drafts of agreements were made and concessions considered - but they remained fruitless. At this point the work of the Golan Communities' Board, which fought during the 1990s against plans to negotiate the fate of thirty three settlements where more than 18,000 live will not be resumed, said the community leaders. While the heads of Golan communities convened, Olmert and his wife Aliza were enjoying the last hours of a four-day long vacation in the south of the Golan Heights. The community heads were angry that reports on renewing talks regarding the future of the Heights drew no official response from the Prime Minister's Office. Meanwhile, Deputy Foreign Minister Majallie Whbee said that while Israel should clearly pay a price for peace, Syria must also pay its price and detach itself from the axis of evil. Whbee told Israel Radio that Syria must stop supporting Hizbullah and other terror groups in Damascus. He emphasized, however, that he was giving his personal opinion and was not speaking on behalf of the Foreign Ministry.