What should have israel done instead?


I suspect there are a bunch of former Syrians in the Golan heights who probably don’t mind Israel owning it these days… ya know, since Assad uses chemical weapons on his own people.


True. But don’t start making excuses for Israel to not be a decent country to those they displaced or for the lands they stole.


Well, Israel “stole” them in a war.

It wasn’t like the Baathist regime in Syria in 1967 was some kind of innocent lamb who the big mean Israelis attacked unprovoked. The Syrians were a major instigator of that war, and on the 4th day they started shelling the Israelis hard from artillery in the Golan Heights… amusingly perhaps, after receiving (false) reports that the Egyptians had crushed the Israelis down south. It wasn’t until after that the Israelis pushed in the Golan. It was a tough choice, as the region was naturally defended, and the Syrians were considered a client state of the Soviets.

Turns out, if you attack another country, and you suck at fighting, you might lose territory.

But, right now, I’d definitely much rather be in the Israeli occupied part of the Golan Heights, rather than the eastern part which is a total clusterfuck as part of the Syrian civil war.


What are the most important principles governing occupation?

The duties of the occupying power are spelled out primarily in the 1907 Hague Regulations (arts 42-56) and the Fourth Geneva Convention (GC IV, art. 27-34 and 47-78), as well as in certain provisions of Additional Protocol I and customary international humanitarian law.

The main rules of the law applicable in case of occupation state that:

* The occupant does not acquire sovereignty over the territory.
* Occupation is only a temporary situation, and the rights of the occupant are limited to the extent of that period.



Turns out, the International Red Cross’s lawyers aren’t actually a meaningful authority when it come to this stuff.

Again, if you pick a fight with another country, and you suck at fighting as was the case with the Syrian Baathists, you’re probably gonna have a bad time.


Yes, this is the prevailing conservative view: Life is not fair, and no one should try to make it more fair, and only power and authority matter.


I agree it would be good if we lived in a world where Syria had been meaningfully sanctioned by the international community for its naked act of aggression. Sadly, we do not.


I would, too; but it’s possible to feel that way while also deploring the fact that the ‘right’ countries can flout international norms and get away with it because they are basically a bully, or they have a good friend who is.


Indeed. I believe that Israel should have been obliged to annex or withdraw from the territories concerned (with suitable demilitarized buffer zones defined). A big part of the problem was that the Arab states correctly calculated they had no need to reach a formal peace, and Israel correctly calculated that maintaining the territories as “occupied” allowed them to hold them without having to provide democratic governance, and both sides were backed by a superpower.


But that is expressly counter to international law, the premise of which is that one can’t gain territory through war. It’s a good premise to uphold IMO.


But in the absence of a functioning international authority, sometimes necessary. In any case the West Bank and Gaza strip were truly disputed territory beforehand, so an annexation would have been much more defensible from a legal perspective. (The Golan Heights are different I agree).


I’m sure we’ll be giving Germany back a lot of territory any day now.


Right after we deal with some Black Sea bordering lands.


Can you point to something on that? As far as I’m aware, the UN resolution creating Israel defined its borders, and the West Bank and Gaza Strip were not included.

Poland, you mean?


Well to be fair the international community does consider Crimea occupied territory.


That was really an acknowledgement of the facts on the ground after the Arab-Israeli war. Jordan’s annexation of the West bank was also rejected by all except a few states.

The maintenance of Palestine as a legal fiction with an an entitlement to territory that is “occupied” if held by any other state for over 50 years strikes a sharp contrast with the way similar scenarios have worked out elsewhere in the world. (c.f. Tibet, the baltic republics 1945-1990, etc.)

It’s entirely defensible under international law, and moral principles of how states should operate, but it has been maintained where similar situations elsewhere have not, and I’m not sure that’s been good for the region.


Um, no. UN Resolution 181 pre-dates that war (it basically precipitated the war), and UN Resolution 181 creates an Arab state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.


Ultimately, the fact that Syria was so incredibly dumb leading up to the 6 days war makes it really hard for me to give a shit about their claim to the Golan Heights.

Their baathist regime was a super extremist, soviet client state. They directly fed the antagonism that led to the 6 days war. Hell, even the other Arab states were pissed off because so much of that was directly driven by Syria’s constant, overt attacks on Israel, saying that they were going to destroy Israel entirely and push them into the sea… and then for the beginning of the war, Syria just laid low.

Only after getting false information about Egypt winning (narrator: they didn’t), did Syria start bombing the hell out of Israel from the Golan Heights.

The Golan Heights represent a very real, tangible threat to Israel’s security. I don’t blame the Israelis for refusing to give that back to Syria.

And really, at this point, Syria’s a basket case anyway. The biggest danger to Syrians living in the Golan Heights, comes from Syria’s government itself.

If you live in the Israeli section of the Golan Heights, you’re WAY better off than if you are in the Syrian section.

From a purely practical perspective, I see no legitimate reason for Israel to abandon that region to Syria. It’s worse for everyone involved, with the exception of Assad, who is a fucking mass murderer.


Sure, but if your stated rationale is that Israel can do it because they have the power to do it and Syria lacks the power to stop them, then you don’t really need this window-dressing, do you?

Edit: If you want to argue that the Golan Heights is a security risk for Israel so they had to occupy it, I don’t disagree. If you say they were justified in continuing to occupy it on the grounds that Syria declined to make peace, I might argue with you but that’s a reasonable position under the law. Annexing the Golan Heights is unnecessary to that rationale, and it’s illegal.


It’s supplemental.

Syria picked a fight, and lost.

They are also the bad guys, and it doesn’t even benefit the syrians living there to be under Syrian control.

One is a simple statement of reality. The second is a statement of my opinion regarding the morality of the situation.

If Syria was not a horrific actor, then i might care about coming to some end which involved returning that land to them.

But they are a horrific actor. Syria is bad. I am not interested in expanding their power. That land is better managed by Israel.