Netanyahu: 'The Golan Will Stay Israeli'

Ad Feedback - GOLAN HEIGHTS, Israel - Likud chairman and opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu said Thursday that the Golan Heights was and will remain Israeli.

"Whoever settles the Golan Heights secures Israel's security. Here can be seen the connection that exists between security and peace," Netanyahu told some 600 Likud supporters at the Eden Springs near Katzrin, the largest city in the Golan.

In recent weeks, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has talked about giving up the Golan Heights in exchange for peace promises from Syria.

"The way to guard the Golan and Jerusalem is to go to elections now. If we don't live here, Iranian soldiers will," Netanyahu said.

"What do you find when you dig in the Golan? Syrian ruins? No. You'll find dozens of magnificent synagogues and remnants of [Jewish] communities," he continued.

"The Israeli nation has been connected to the Golan for thousands of years. The Golan was and always will remain Israeli," Netanyahu said.

"Before we liberated the Golan [from Syria] 41 years ago, they were on the mountain and we were in the valley. They fired on us [Israeli communities in the valley], and one day we put a stop to it," he reminded the crowd.

"Standing here one can clearly see that the Golan is essential to Israel's security and deterrence - today more than ever before in light of the rise of Iran and its affiliates," he said.

"Only a few days ago, Syrian and Iranian defense ministers signed a new defense cooperation pact and still there are those who suggest we hand over the Golan to Syria and Iran," Netanyahu marveled.

"The region is the single largest buffer zone that is preventing any possibility of an invasion into our small country," he concluded.

Sources: The Jerusalem Post, YNet news

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