Israeli bulldozers in 'new encroachment' in occupied Golan Heights

Israeli bulldozers in 'new encroachment' in occupied Golan Heights
2 min read
12 July, 2016
A video released by activists has purported to show Israeli bulldozers from the occupied Golan Heights digging deeper into Syrian land.
Is Israel encroaching into the Golan Heights? [Getty]
Syrian activists have released video footage they say shows Israeli bulldozers digging land in Syrian-controlled parts of the Golan Heights.

The video appears to show Caterpillar diggers working on a hillside metres away from the Israeli occupied Golan Heights territories.

Activists said that a barbed wire fence shown in the video, is the illegal line of control for Israeli forces, with the bulldozers operating inside the Syrian-controlled zone.

"The Israeli bulldozers dug inside Syrian territory in Tel Okasha, Quneitra, adjacent to the barbed-wire strip dividing the Syrian territory of the Golan Heights," said media activist Abu Omar Joulani. "We don't know the goal of these excavations."

There is speculation that the diggers could be working on constructing a new building for United Nations peacekeepers, or it is an attempt by Israel to occupy more Syrian land. 

The media activist said the bulldozers could be part of Israel's attempts to extend their operations over into the Syrian side of the Golan Heights. 

There have been a number of infringements of the Syrian-controlled side of the fence during the Syria war. Israeli artillery have fired shells and Israel's war planes have launched air raids into the territory.
Activists said that the diggers were in Syrian controlled territory [Qasioun News Agency]
Most of the Golan Heights was occupied by Israel in the 1967 war, and its occupation is deemed illegal by United Nations.

Israeli media reports also revealed the military is establishing a special liaison unit purportedly to maintain communications with Syrian civilians living across Israel's northeastern control, in the Golan Heights.

Various rebel factions have a presence in these territories Syria's al-Qaeda branch, al-Nusra front, and possibly the Islamic State group-affiliated al-Yarmouk Martyrs Brigades.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has said that the occupied Golan Heights would "remain forever" in Israeli hands.

Israel has come under continued international pressure to withdraw from the mountainous Syrian territory which it has occupied illegally for nearly 50 years.