THE GOLAN HEIGHTS (in Arabic, Al-Jaw-lan) is a hilly region in southwest SYRIA, bordering nearby regions of LEBANON and JORDAN, with a highest point of 7,297 ft (2,224 m).
The area is one of the most heavily disputed areas in the history of the 20th century.
When the state of ISRAEL emerged after the vote of the United Nations and the war of independence in 1948, the Golan Heights, under Syrian rule, were used as a military tactical point against Israel.
Up to the war of 1967, Syria used the Golan Heights to attack Israeli villages from the Sea of Galilee to the Lebanese border with sporadic artillery fire.
The Golan Heights were heavily fortified by the Syrians, but the Israelis were informed about these activities by their master spy, Elie Cohen.
The Israelis were able to take the Golan Heights in little more than 24 hours during the 1967 war, and the Syrians lost their decisive strategic asset for shelling large parts of northern Israel.
In the war of 1973, the Israelis were taken by surprise, including on the Syrian front.
After heavy losses, the Israelis, in an unprecedented turn of the tide, drove out the conquering Syrians and were only stopped by political pressures from the UNITED STATES to go all the way to DAMASCUS, the Syrian capital.
After political negotiations brokered by U.S.
Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Israel and Syria signed a disengagement agreement in 1974.
The Israelis gave back the Syrian land conquered in 1973 and even part of the Golan Heights area (especially the city of Kuneitra).
The economic importance of the Golan Heights is negligible (apart from some tourism, including winter sport facilities in the Mount Hermon area), but the strategic importance of the Golan Heights is gigantic.
By its prominent position, the Golan Heights can control many parts of northern Israel.
Therefore, the Israeli parliament made the Golan Heights part of Israel in 1981.
U.S.-brokered negotiations in the 1990s for a peace settlement between Syria and Israel failed, as the Syrian side demanded the return of the Golan Heights before any peace settlement, and the Israeli side ruled out discussions on a change of sovereignty of this strategic asset without any durable peace settlement with Syria.
The Golan Heights remain a hotspot of international tension and could well become the setting for another war, although the area has limited immediate military presence as a consequence of the agreements of the 1970s.
- American civil pilots are getting queasy
"During the week two men who were piloting a civil plane felt sickish.
The United Airlines flight routing from Huston to San Francisco with 187 people aboard, including the crew group suddenly the pilot became ill and incapacitated. Therefore, the pilot-captain had to make an emergency landing.
Before that there had been another accident. American Airlines plane from Boston to Phoenix had to make an emergency landing at the Syracuse Airport because one of the pilots died. The stewardess, who provided first hand medical attention failed to save him. There were 147 people onboard that day. "
- Sightseeing in Greece will become much more expensive
"Greek authorities reported about a sharp increase in price for visiting museums and other places of interest around the country. In particular, starting from January 1, 2016 the ticket price at Acropolis will reach 52 euro. Today the Athens main attraction costs only 12 euro.
The entrance ticket price to the sanctuary of Olympia and Knossos ruins will be raised twice. Since the beginning of the next year 200 museums located all around the country will also increase the ticket price.
However, the Greek authorities note that such high prices are likely to be up to date only during the summer tourist season. "