Power, Politics, and Community: Resistance Dynamics in the Occupied Golan
Keywords: 
Syrian national identity
occupied Golan Heights
Israeli annexation of the Golan
communal politics
Druze traditions
wind turbines
popular resistance
Abstract: 

In 1967, Israel occupied the western section of Syria’s Golan Heights, expelling some 130,000 of its inhabitants and leaving a few thousand people scattered across five villages. Severed from Syria, this residual and mostly Druze community, known as the Jawlanis, has been subjected to systematic policies of ethno-religious identity reformulation and bureaucratic and economic control by the Israeli regime for half a century. This essay offers an account of the transformation of authority, class, and the politics of representation among what is now the near 25,000-strong Jawlani community, detailing the impact of Israeli occupation both politically and economically. During an initial decade and a half of direct military rule, Israel secured the community’s political docility by restoring traditional leaders to power; but following full-on annexation in 1981, new forces emerged from the popular resistance movement that developed in response. Those forces continue to compete for social influence and representation today.

Author biography: 

Munir Fakher Eldin teaches philosophy and cultural studies at Birzeit University, where he directs the MA program in Israeli Studies. He is also a research fellow at the Institute for Palestine Studies, Ramallah. This essay is based largely on his direct observation and experience as a social activist and researcher of local history in Majdal Shams in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

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