From Majdal Shams To Katzrin: We Traverse the Israeli Golan Heights


UPDATES 9 am Israel time, Wednesday, November 13 2013:

**The Palestinians continue to publish and broadcast every conceivable incendiary comment about Israelis and Jews. In the last 4 days, there has been a sermon continually broadcast on PATV in which the PA Minister of Religious Affairs Mahmoud Al-Habash has ranted that Yasser Arafat was poisoned by Jews just like the prophet Mohammed: “we don’t have the slightest doubt that the Jews killed him…even Allah’s messenger Mohammed was poisoned by the Jews.”

Note that Palestinians–both public officials and individuals–never use the word “Israelis”; all Israelis are “Jews”.

**The sheer feebleness of the Netanyahu government’s interaction with the “international community” and the concomitant arrogance with which that community feels free to talk down its nose to Israel has been abundantly illustrated here in the last 24 hours.

First we had the Jordanian Abdel Nasser Nasser, the so-called “Special Advisor for the Holy Places of Islam and Christianity in Jerusalem” declaring that “Jordan has rejected an Israeli request to allow Jews to pray in a limited area on the Temple Mount.”

Stop and think about this pathetic absurdity. 

The Temple Mount belongs to Israel. Why in the world does Israel need to ask Jordan if Jews in Israel can pray at the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism–an area that is under complete Israeli sovereignty? And not only does Israel make such a request, it tries to sweeten the request by saying it will restrict Jewish prayers to a “limited area.”

Jordan has rejected an Israeli request.

In your humble servant’s opinion, the Jordanians can go jump. These are the same Jordanians–along with their pals the Palestinians–who threw all Jews out of the Old City of Jerusalem between 1948 and 1967 and destroyed or desecrated every Jewish site they could find. And now they are empowered by the Netanyahu government to reject a request for Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount?  Totally unbelievable.

If this “interaction” with Jordan wasn’t bad enough yesterday, we also had the “explosive revelation” that the Israel Housing Ministry was issuing bids for some 20,000 to 25,000 new apartments, schools, and health clinics in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria.

The truth–which everyone knows– is that no apartments, schools or health clinics are on the verge of being built anywhere. At the very least, the process from hiring an architect to plan a development to finally building an apartment takes 7 to 10 years.

But this knowledge did not stop the State Department of Barack Obama and John Kerry from getting on its high horse yesterday and harshly condemning the announcement. In the words of spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki: “We are surprised by reports on the construction of 21 thousand housing units, and require explanation from the Israeli government. We do not accept the legitimacy of the settlements and did not know about this announcement in advance.”

We require explanation from the Israeli government? We did not know about this announcement in advance?

In your humble servant’s opinion, the American State Department can go jump. There is just one sentence for Ms. Psaki, John Kerry, and Barack Obama: “THIS IS ISRAEL!” But this morning, we have our craven Netanyahu backpedaling as fast as his little feet will carry him on yesterday’s announcement ostensibly in order to not upset the Iranian sanctions apple cart. All of the bids announced yesterday have been frozen.

TODAY’S BLOG:

Almost the same map as yesterday (with the addition of Majdal Shams)--again note that the light green area is northern Israeli Golan Heights. The purple area is the DMZ between Israel and Syria. Our route on Monday took us from Mt. Hermon to Majdal Shams to beside Kuneitra to Katzrin.

Almost the same map as yesterday (with the addition of Majdal Shams)–again note that the light green area is northern Israeli Golan Heights. The purple area is the DMZ between Israel and Syria. Our route on Monday took us from Mt. Hermon to Majdal Shams to beside Kuneitra to Katzrin.

In yesterday’s blog, your humble servant left you in the midst of wonderful trip at the top of Mt. Hermon–where we had arrived early Monday morning. From there, we continued driving along the Lebanese and Syrian borders to Katzrin–a trip that normally takes about an hour.

As we came down the mountain, we first came to the town of Majdal Shams, the first of three Druze towns on our route.

Majdal Shams--at the place where Lebanon, Israel, and Syria all come together.

Majdal Shams–at the place where Lebanon, Israel, and Syria all come together.

Driving through Majdal is like driving through any other Israeli town with one exception. Despite the fact that all of the signs of the stores and businesses are in Hebrew, there was a conspicuous absence of Israeli flags. Instead many businesses and residences were flying the Druze flag (last year when we drove through the same area, the Syrian flag flew over many places).

A Druze flag flying over a building in Majdal Shams. Note the "unfinished" building--metal bars extending upward for another floor to be added to the house as the family grows.

A Druze flag flying over a building in Majdal Shams. Note the “unfinished” building–metal bars extending upward for another floor to be added to the house as the family grows.

Coming out of Majdal, we went straight down to the border and turned right. Suddenly we were in the land of lovely terraced valleys and orchards–especially apple orchards.

On the "backside" of Majdal Shams. That's Lebanon on the left margin of picture--and Syria center and right.

On the “backside” of Majdal Shams. That’s Lebanon on the left margin of picture–and Syria center and right.

We continued driving until Mesade where we suddenly found ourselves in the midst of a UN convoy headed for the UNDOF base in the DMZ area between the Israel and Syria.

A crazy UN driver passing us on the curvy road.

A crazy UN driver passing us on the curvy road.

As we were driving, the sounds of artillery and mortar fire, not to mention bombs exploding, became louder.

A half an hour later we were across the valley from Quneitra–which has been the scene of heavy fighting between “Syrian rebels” and Assad’s forces.

Quneitra. Crucial tank battles were fought in this area during the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

Quneitra. Crucial tank battles were fought in this area during the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

As we stopped the car at a vista point to take a look at the area, very loud booms rocked the valley and we could see puffs of smoke from up on the ridge line.

Smoke along the ridge line--taken from the same location as the previous picture--all the while loud explosions were sounding from the area.

Smoke along the ridge line to the left–taken from the same location as the previous picture–all the while loud explosions were sounding from the area.

But life goes on; we bought some apples from a kiosk and continued on for a distance until we passed the UNDOF base. 

From that point, we turned away from the border and headed for Katzrin traveling past the shells of former Syrian army barracks left over from the 1973 war, and memorials to the Israeli soldiers who died stopping the Syrian advance on the Golan Heights. As you may imagine, there is a very heavy IDF presence in the entire area.

A typical roadside sign in the Israeli Golan Heights.

A typical roadside sign in the Israeli Golan Heights.

By noon, we were in Katzrin refreshing ourselves at the always welcoming Golan Heights Winery–before resuming our drive home to Ashdod.

What a wonderful trip–and what a wonderful country!

 

 

This entry was posted in News and tagged 1948 and 1967, 1973 yom kippur war, 20000 new apartments, 7 to 10 years, abdel nasser nasser, absence of israeli flags, all israelis are jews, allahs messenger, and require explanation from the Israeli government, another floor, apple orchards, artillery, as fast as his little feet will carry him, ashdod, backpedaling, barack obama, bombs, caution passageway for tanks, concomitant arrogance, craven, descrated, destroyed, dmz, druze, druze flag, empowered, feebleness, golan heights, golan heights winery, harshly condemning, health clinics, high horse, holiest site in judaism, IDF, Israel, israel housing ministry, israeli sovereignty, israelis, isreal, isrealis, jewish prayer, jews, jews killed him, john kerry, Jordan has rejected an Israeli request to allow Jews to pray in a limited area on the Temple Mount, jordanian, jordanians can go jump, katzrin, Lebanon, limited area, loud booms rocked the valley, mahmoud habash, majdal shams, map, mesade, minister of religious affiairs, mohammed, mortars, mt. hermon, netanyahu government, neve ativ, never used the word israelis, old city, on the verge of being built, orchards, Palestinians, pathetic absurdity, patv, poisoned, poisoned by the jews, puffs of smoke, quneitra, safed, schools, Special Advisor for the Holy Places of Islam and Christianity in Jerusalem, state department, stopping the syrian advance, sweeten, Syria, syrian army barracks, syrian rebels, talk down its nose to israel, temple mount belongs to israel, terraced valleys, the American State Department can go jump, this is israel, un convoy, unbelievable, undof, unfinised building, upset the iranian sanctions apple cart, We are surprised by reports on the construction of 21 thousand housing units, We do not accept the legitimacy of the settlements and did not know about this announcement in advance, wonderful country, wonderful trip, yasser arafat. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.