Thursday, January 07, 2010

The Golan Heights

The Golan Heights (Arabic: الجولان‎ al-Jūlān, Hebrew: הגולן‎ HaGolan) is a strategic plateau and mountainous region at the southern end of the Anti-Lebanon Mountains. The geographic area lies within, or borders, the countries of Israel, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. The Golan plateau encompasses about 1,800 square kilometres (690 sq mi); it is situated south of the mountains and extends to the east. Since 1967, the term generally refers to a somewhat different 1,200 square kilometres (460 sq mi) area that includes the western portion of the plateau, a small portion of the Jordan River Valley in the northwest, and higher, mountainous areas in the north, which descend to the southeast from Mount Hermon.

The Golan Heights are of great strategic importance in the region. The Golan Heights were undisputed Syrian territory until Israel captured the region on 9-10 June 1967 during the Six-Day War. The area has remained under Israeli occupation since then. The territory was successfully defended by Israel in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, though a portion was later returned to Syria. In 1981 the area was unilaterally annexed by Israel. The Golan Heights remain disputed, with an ongoing Syrian claim for the land to be returned.


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