Syria: Israel maltreating Golan's Druse

Report submitted to UN claims radioactive waste dumped in Heights, land confiscated, water stolen.

druse village 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
druse village 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
A report submitted to the UN by Syria blames Israel with maltreatment of Druse residents of the Golan Heights. The report was issued to a special UN committee dealing with human rights violations, and handed to its Sri Lankan head, Israel Radio reported Saturday. According to Damascus's claims, Israel dumps radioactive waste in the Golan and confiscates identity cards of Druse students who leave for studies in Damascus. Israel is also stealing water from reservoirs in the Heights and continues confiscating lands, Syria claimed. The regime also claimed that Israel has recently succeeded in bringing 50,000 new "settlers" to the Golan Heights. Israel's official census cites the population of the Golan at about 20,000. Representatives of the UN committee said Israel refused their request to examine the veracity of the report by allowing them to conduct a visit to the Golan. Despite the Syrian report to the UN, Turkish officials in Ankara said Saturday that talks between Jerusalem and Damascus were progressing well and raised the option that direct talks between the two countries might soon take place. Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moalem said during a visit to Paris on Friday that it was still early to discuss direct talks, also brushing aside reports that Syrian President Bashar Assad might shake the hand of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in an upcoming conference of Mediterranean countries scheduled to take place in Paris later in July. Moalem added that Israel's demand that Syria disconnect from Iran, Hamas and Hizbullah was tantamount to Damascus asking Israel to cut its ties with the US, a statement similar to utterances Syrian officials have made in the past. Israel Radio reproduced Saturday a BBC report that quoted Syrian sources saying that the country would "laud" direct negotiations. In related news, the London-based pan-Arabic paper Asharq al-Awsat reported that the latest round of Turkish-mediated talks focused on the relations of Syria with Hizbullah and Iran. The paper added that the talks were held in a "serious and positive" atmosphere.