The Golan Heights have not always been part of Syria

After the defeat of the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War I, Britain and France divided an immense sweep of Southwest Asia (the Near East or the Middle East in European parlance) into two mandates, the spheres of influence that they coveted. The French were to administer Syria and Lebanon. The British were to administer Palestine, Trans-Jordan, and Iraq (again in European parlance).

In the first treaties after the war, the British were to administer the lower slope of Golan Heights as part of Palestine. In 1923, a comprehensive agreement, the last Treaty of Lausanne, included negotiations with the new Republic of Turkey. At this time, France and Britain adjusted the border by exchanging the Golan – to France – for a nearby region around Metula – to Mandated Palestine.

For sources see: National Geographic. 2008. Atlas of the Middle East, Second Edition (Washington, DC) p. 98.  Also: Dan Smith. 2016. The Penguin State of the Middle East Atlas, Third Edition. New York: Penguin Books, p. 36-37.

The locals who lived on the Golan slope – who were not Jewish – were unhappy. Either they did not want to live under French administration or they didn’t see themselves as having much in common with Syria.

As has been typical, the Great Powers drew and have been drawing Middle Eastern borders without consulting the people most closely affected.

When Israel conquered the Golan Heights in 1967, remaining descendants of the post-World-War-I residents no longer had to live under Syrian rule.

Also in 1967, virtually the entire watershed of the Galilee was contained in one jurisdiction. When the State of Israel applied Israeli law to the Golan Heights in 1981, the entire region, on both sides of the upper Jordan River, was unified politically with defensible borders and one legal system.

In 1967, the Jordan Valley Unified Water Plan, originating in the 1950s, began to serve the primary stakeholders – Jordan and Israel. The Syrians and Lebanese had only been interfering by diverting water from both Israel and Jordan in violation of their agreements to the Water Plan.

In addition, Syria and Lebanon had not been interested in eradicating malaria from the Huleh Valley. Again, they were not stakeholders. I shouldn’t have to note that mosquitoes carrying malaria do not recognize political arrangements.

I do note that the Hasbani River rises in Lebanon and runs for 25 miles before it enters Israel. Lebanese stakeholders are partners in the Unified Water Plan, but the Arab League does not recognize this agreement and encourages mischievous violations within Lebanon.

Also of note:  People who live in the Dara’a Governorate of southwestern Syria, as well as Jordanians, are stakeholders in the water resources of the lower reaches of the Jordan River. Syria’s Dara’a Governorate abuts the Golan Heights south of Syria’s Quneitra Governorate. The Quneitra Governorate lies partly in the disengagement zone between Syria and Israel along the plateau ridge of Israel’s upward slope of the Golan. Dara’a was an early site of conflict in the Syrian civil war, 2011.

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The Medicare Deduction Rate Is Too Low

Currently, the Federal Government deducts 6.2 percent of our wages to set aside for future Social Security benefits.

At the same time, the Federal Government only deducts 1.45 percent of wages to pay for Medicare expenses. It’s no wonder that Medicare is underfunded.

Most of us who qualify for Social Security benefits enroll in the Medicare program. According to life expectancy figures, we can expect that an American born today will be receiving Medicare benefits for about 14 years.

Life expectancy at birth in the United States is now about 77 years old for men and 81 years old for women – overall 79 years. These figures are averages – about half of Americans born today will have died before these life expectancy figures while about half will live longer. (If I understand this subject correctly.)

However, this current figure of 14 years is deceptive. Today, the median age of Americans who are 65 years and older (2010 census) is about 74. An American alive today, then, can expect to receive Medicare benefits for about 9 years, still a considerable length of time.

In addition. one out of every four Medicare dollars is spent on the frail in their last year of life.


The 2010 census established that the entire population of the US is about 309 million. During the previous ten years, the total population grew by about 9.7 percent, but the population of those of us who are 65 years or older grew by about 15.1%. * Death in the United States is being postponed.

Today, about 13% of all Americans are 65 years or older (2010 census) – about 40 million of us. Of these 40 million, 5.5 million are 85 years or older.

  • * In part, the older population has grown because the large number of baby boomers are entering their “retirement years.” The overall growth of the American population consists of births and immigration. What the population who will be eligible for Medicare will look like in distant years is impossible to predict with much accuracy. Will the birth rate go up or down? Will immigration rules be tightened or loosened?

Palestinian Refugees

The refugee camps for Palestinians during and after the Israeli War for Independence were set up between 1948 and 1951.

This means that the youngest refugee is about 65 years old (in 2016). The life expectancy of Palestinians is around 72 years old.

Those younger than about 65 years old in these camps is a child, grandchild, or great-grandchild of the actual refugees, but not refugees themselves.

The youngest of the refugees have no or little memory of having lived in Palestine, unless one considers life in refugee camps as life in Palestine or Gaza.

I am not writing this glibly.

Almost everywhere else in the world, refugees have been resettled within a few years. In addition, they are rarely given political grounds for demanding a right to return to where they used to live. Some refugees do return, but this is rare.

When the Indian sub-continent was partitioned into separate Hindu and Muslim areas in 1947, becoming the nation states India and Pakistan:

The separation from Hindu-dominated areas granted to India was accompanied by widespread Hindu-Muslim rioting, the transfer of about 8,000,000 Hindus and Sikhs from Pakistan (especially from the Punjab) to India, and the forced relocation of about 6,000,000 Muslims from India to Pakistan. War erupted with India over Muslim dominated Jammu and Kashmir and ended in 1949 with a cease-fire line. . . .

(“Pakistan,” Grolier Encyclopedia of Knowledge. Danbury, Connecticut: Grolier, 1991. p. 193)

Note the words ‘forced relocation’ and ‘transfer’. Neither of these two words is used when describing the relationship between Israelis and Palestinians.

Of the roughly 14,000,000 people who were transferred or relocated between 1947 and 1949, the youngest are now about 67 years old (2016). The life expectancy in the region is around 60 years old.

The current cease-fire line in Kashmir is called a “line of control.” India and Pakistan have fought a couple of wars since the first cease-fire. China, for its part, invaded India and took over the region of Kashmir to the east of the Karakoram Range in 1962.


The United Nations makes decisions from majority, political considerations. The United Nations defines a refugee from Palestine as “persons whose normal place of residence was Palestine during the period 1 June 1946 to 15 May 1948, and who lost both home and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 conflict.” The descendants of Palestine refugee males, including legally adopted children, are also eligible for registration.

When the UN Agency – the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) – began operations in 1950, it was responding to the needs of about 750,000 Palestine refugees. Today, some 5 million Palestine refugees are eligible for UNRWA services. (“Who We Are – UNRWA“, retrieved May 9, 2016)

Plot Clichés – Beautiful, Long Tresses & Men’s Ties

Women who are leading characters in films and on TV appear with the long hairstyles of the 2000s even when it’s not practical.

We see excellently trained women, and special operatives, fight hand-to-hand combat and wear their hair in long, flowing tresses, but no opponent yanks them around by the hair.

In the same vein, women detectives with long hair – It’s not safe, practical, etc.

In addition, medical examiners and female detectives examine dead bodies and crime scenes but never consider that they might soil their hair or contaminate the scene.

The above also applies to men’s ties.

Wardrobe folks: Have the men tuck their ties between the buttons of their shirts. Thanks.

 

A Plot Cliché – “No, I have to see you”

Someone who has information for the police says, “I need to tell you something. Can you meet me?”

The officer responds, “Why don’t you just tell me now?”

In answer, the informant says, “No, I have to see you.”

In the meantime, informants are killed and take their secrets to the grave.