Greenwashing colonization: 'Israel' seeks to expand Golan occupation
Confrontations in the occupied Syrian Golan are still ongoing over the Israeli occupation's plans to build wind turbines in the occupied region amid heavy opposition from the locals.
Confrontations were renewed for the second day in a row in the occupied Syrian Golan between the local population and the Israeli occupation forces over the Israeli energy project consisting of erecting wind turbines on land that is not theirs, to begin with. The Israeli occupation forces called for reinforcements to help with the storming of the occupied Syrian Golan in violation of its people's rights, closing all roads leading to the Al-Hafayer area in preparation for the erection of the aforementioned wind turbines.
The people of the occupied Golan are heavily opposed to the Israeli project that aims to set up 32 new win turbines and would violate around 4,500 dunams of land owned by Syrian farmers in Majdel Shams and Masaade.
Each wind turbine is around 200m high, not to mention the roads leading in and out of where the project is set to be and the vast areas that will be confiscated for use in maintenance and storage.
Greenwashing colonialist expansion
Ever since the occupation of the Golan, the Israeli occupation erected more than 30 settlements and backed its settlers with investments in numerous sectors in order to ensure the sustainability of the settlements.
The Israeli occupation of the Golan has more than the strategic geographic aspect that includes its view of four Arab countries, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, and Jordan; it is one of the most important sources of water and energy for the Israeli occupation. The occupation gets around a third of its water needs from the Golan, an area rich in natural water sources, from rivers to springs and groundwater, as well as the accumulation of snow on its mountains. For years, the Israeli occupation has been mining for oil in the region, which studies suggest it has an abundance of.
In addition to occupying the land and exploiting its natural resources, the Israeli occupation wants to invest in its air through wind turbines that would allow it to generate energy from the upland's winds.
Under the banner of "green energy", which is merely aimed at confiscating the remainder of land controlled by the people of the Golan to besiege and displace them, the Israeli occupation aims to develop its colonialist settler project and establish complete control over the Golan Heights.
What is happening today in the occupied Golan Heights dates back to 2009, when the Israeli occupation government issued Resolution 4450, which obligates the search for alternative energy sources to cover around 10% of "Israel's" electricity needs from renewable energy sources starting in 2020.
Based on Resolution 4450, the Israeli occupation went to the drawing board and made plans to build 25 wind turbines on privately-owned lands in the Golan in Masaade, Majdal Al-Shams, and Sahita.
The Israeli occupation chose the Golan because it is distinguished by its fast winds, which are the fastest in the region occupied by "Israel". It is said that each wind turbine spins at such a speed that it generates 3 megawatts an hour, i.e., 3,000 kilowatts, which is enough for 1,500 houses. Taking into consideration that there is a total of 5,000 houses in the villages of the occupied Golan Heights, five wind turbines would be more than sufficient in providing electricity for the region's houses.
Immense profits in the waiting
The Israeli occupation sees wind power production as a top strategic goal, which ensures enormous profits. The project has significant economic benefits that "Israel" will reap through the confiscation of Syrian lands. The planned turbines are expected to generate 152 megawatts of energy annually, which would be sold to the Israeli Electric Company, yielding a return estimated between 150 and 160 million shekels (a US dollar is equivalent to 3.6 shekels).
To highlight the importance of this project, the occupation's government classifies it as a "national project," which means - according to legal texts - that the Israeli Minister of Finance is authorized to confiscate lands from their owners to ensure the continuity of the project and provide it with the necessary infrastructure and facilities.
The entity responsible for implementing the project is a company called Energix, which is active, according to its website, in "Israel", the United States, and Poland.
Despite the Golan Heights' residents opposing the installation of the wind turbines, the occupation's government has announced its intention to install 42 turbines in the Tel Al-Faras area and 30 turbines in the Mansoura Plain.
The impacts of the project
Apart from the direct harm of land confiscation, many animals and plants will also be affected by the project if it proceeds. Migratory birds and bats, which contribute to pollinating fruit-bearing trees and cleaning agricultural lands from harmful pests, will be killed due to collision with wind turbines, leading to significant damage to the ecosystem in the northern Golan.
Furthermore, the environmental damage will contribute to erasing the agricultural heritage of the Golan's residents, in addition to restricting their main source of livelihood, agriculture, in the three villages inhabited by approximately 24,000 people.
The locals have adopted an economic policy that ensures their minimal subsistence without engaging with the occupation, primarily through cultivating their lands, especially cherries, grapes, and apples.
The project will have demographic repercussions, particularly as it will contribute to suffocating the remaining Syrian villages and dividing their territories due to its significant location: dead in the middle of the villages. This will also limit their urban expansion. For example, the village of Majdal Shams is already surrounded from the north, east, and west by minefields, ceasefire lines, and Israeli occupation sites. This project will further tighten its siege from the south.
The project's damage will not be limited to the lands on which it will be erected because the construction period of these turbines will extend for years. Consequently, massive machinery will be transported to and from the site, causing significant harm to the adjacent agricultural fields due to the size of the machinery and equipment used in the construction process and the emissions they will generate.
The project shall not pass
The people of the Golan Heights, although late, were alerted to the malign winds turbines project that kicked off in 2013. The locals have devised a plan to confront the settlement project through two approaches: a legal approach, where they file lawsuits in the Israeli occupation courts to cancel the contracts, as most farmers have backed out of leasing their lands; and a popular approach comprised of holding meetings and conducting media campaigns to explain the extent of the damage the project will cause and even go into a popular confrontation in order to bring the project to a grinding halt by force.
The legal approach has been rendered ineffective after the occupation's government passed a law considering the project a "national project," allowing the Israeli Finance Minister to seize the lands for its establishment. This made the popular approach the stronger card in the locals' hands, informing the region's residents about the repercussions of the project and emphasizing their steadfastness in the defense of their land and their readiness for a full-on confrontation.
The battle for the land continues today, as the Syrians in the Golan Heights have launched the "Popular Movement in Defense of the Land." It is expected that the protests will go beyond the borders of the Golan to the international community in a bid to halt the Israeli project aimed at seizing the Golan Heights and plundering its resources, all the while bypassing its indigenous owners and violating their rights to their land.
The residents of the #Syrian province of Quneitra organized a protest to condemn the Israeli occupation's attacks on the residents of the occupied #Golan Heights aimed at seizing more land that rightfully belongs to the people of the Golan and Syria. #Syria https://t.co/AqcoW40cTW— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) June 21, 2023
The Golan Heights: Always was, always will be Syrian
The Syrian Foreign Ministry praised the steadfastness of the Syrians living in the Golan, stressing that the region "was and will remain an integral part of the territory of Syria," and its full return to the homeland is "inevitable."
"The brutal attacks by the Israeli occupation forces on our people in the Golan are nothing but an extension of Israel's aggressive policies and crimes, which constitute a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law, international human rights law, and the provisions of the United Nations Charter," the ministry added.
Syria has been reaching out to the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council regarding the dangerous aggressive actions of the occupation in the occupied Golan, particularly the wind turbines project and the chairlifts projects, as well as the ongoing violation of UN Resolution 497.
Syria's messages have been focused on exposing the enemy's steps, which revolved around coercing the locals to surrender their ownership documents, known as "Tapu", to the occupation's government and replacing them with Israeli documents. This was an attempt to create the impression of "normalization" between the indigenous Syrian inhabitants and the Zionist settlers, which would greatly benefit the occupation in the context of promoting the annexation of the Golan and solidifying the "annexation decision" before the international community and international organizations, especially after the US recognized "Israeli sovereignty" over the Golan Heights.