Key Facts about Golan Heights

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India has voted in favour of a draft resolution in the UN General Assembly that expressed deep concern over Israel not withdrawing from the Golan Heights.

About Golan Heights

  • It is a rocky plateau in south-western Syria, about 60km (40 miles) south-west of the Capital, Damascus.
  • It is bounded by the Jordan River and the Sea of Galilee on the west, Mount Hermon on the north, the seasonal Wadi Al-Ruqqād River on the east, and the Yarmūk River on the south.
  • The Golan extends about 44 miles (71 km) from north to south and about 27 miles (43 km) from east to west at its widest point.
  • It is roughly boat-shaped and has an area of 1,150 square km. 
  • History:
    • Israel seized the Golan Heights from Syria in the closing stages of the 1967 Six-Day War.
    • Most of the Syrian Arab inhabitants fled the area during the conflict.
    • An armistice line was established, and the region came under Israeli military control. Almost immediately, Israel began to settle the Golan.
    • Syria tried to retake the Golan Heights during the 1973 Middle East war. Despite inflicting heavy losses on Israeli forces, the surprise assault was thwarted.
    • Both countries signed an armistice in 1974, and a UN observer force has been in place on the ceasefire line since 1974.
    • Israel unilaterally annexed the Golan Heights in 1981.
  • There are more than 30 Israeli settlements in the Golan. The settlements are considered illegal under international law, although Israel disputes this.
  • About 20,000 Syrians and 20,000 Israelis live in the Golan.
  • Strategic Importance:
    • The Syrian capital, Damascus, can be clearly seen from the top of the Golan Hills.
    • When it rains here, its water goes to the Jordan River, which supplies water in dry areas. It is believed that this water supplies one-third of Israel's water.
    • Apart from this, the land here is very fertile, which is very good for farming.

Q1) What is the UN General Assembly?

The UN General Assembly (UNGA) is the main policy-making organ of the Organization. Comprising all Member States, it provides a unique forum for multilateral discussion of the full spectrum of international issues covered by the Charter of the United Nations. Each of the 193 Member States of the United Nations has an equal vote.The Assembly meets in regular sessions from September to December each year, and thereafter as required. It discusses specific issues through dedicated agenda items or sub-items, which lead to the adoption of resolutions.

Source: India favours UN resolution expressing concern over Israel not withdrawing from Golan Heights