Protests continue in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights for second day
Clashes between Syrians and the Israeli police in the occupied Golan Heights continued for a second day on Wednesday. Tens of protesters were reportedly injured by rubber bullets and tear gas inhalation.
In one instance, angry protesters threw firebombs at an Israeli police vehicle, dispelling skunk water.
One video showed a young man with a face injury, apparently hit in the eye by a rubber bullet.
Another video showed several protesters blocking a road in Mas'ada, one of three towns where demonstrations are concentrated. Israel has pushed hundreds of its forces to suppress the dissent.
Israeli occupation forces assaulted hundreds of people in the occupied Golan Heights after storming their agricultural lands for the second day in a row. pic.twitter.com/PaSkIkNiea— PALESTINE ONLINE 🇵🇸 (@OnlinePalEng) June 21, 2023
Druze Syrians who oppose works to plant wind turbines on their land say the project harms agriculture, a key source of income for some 20,000 Syrians in the area living under Israeli occupation since 1967.
"The project targets the people's presence in the Golan and their income", Majid Qadamani, a Syrian community activist, told The New Arab.
The Syrian Golan Heights are about 1,000 sq kilometres in size.
Israel illegally annexed the territory in 1981, but the move was not recognised internationally. In March 2019, the United States Trump administration recognised Israel's sovereignty over the area, citing "aggressive acts by Iran" and groups, including Hizballah, in southern Syria who "continue to make the Golan Heights a potential launching ground for attacks on Israel".
Some 20,000 Israeli settlers live in 30 illegal settlements in the Golan.
Only one per cent of the land remains in the hands of the original inhabitants, the Druze Syrians, according to Majid Qadamani. The residents argue that Israel can quickly shift the location of the turbines away from their farms and homes.
"The community firmly reject the turbines. We believe the authorities are deliberately seeking to carry on with the project to harm agricultural land and encircle the Golan Syrians because they've rejected the occupation", he added.
Wael Treibeh, a resident of Majdal Shams, told TNA that protesters number in the thousands and are bolstered by people "from northern Palestine, from the Galilee and the Carmel".
"The turbines will affect traditional agriculture, apple and cheery trees, and the tourism around them". Treibeh warned.
Demonstrations are expected to continue.
According to the Israeli police, "Dozens of Druze arrived at the police post and threw stones, set tires on fire, punctured the tires of police vehicles, and even fired live shots. Some of the policemen were injured by stones thrown at them".
The Syrian Druze protests coincide with rising tensions in the occupied West Bank. Four Israeli settlers were killed on Tuesday by two armed Palestinian men. The attack came in the wake of an Israeli army raid on Jenin, which left seven Palestinians dead, including a 15-year-old girl.
On Wednesday, Israeli settlers rampaged through the occupied West Bank town of Turmus Aya, torching several properties belonging to Palestinians.
According to Palestinian sources, at least 177 Palestinians, including 30 children, have been killed since the start of the year.