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MIDEAST > Israel charges Golan druze with spying for Syria

JERUSALEM - Agence France-Presse

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An United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) soldier mans a watchtower near the Golan Heights village of Qunitra, close to the Israeli-Syrian border and the Syrian village of Jbatha Al-khashab, about 45 kms south of Damascus, on 26 July 2012. EPA photo

An United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) soldier mans a watchtower near the Golan Heights village of Qunitra, close to the Israeli-Syrian border and the Syrian village of Jbatha Al-khashab, about 45 kms south of Damascus, on 26 July 2012. EPA photo

Israeli prosecutors on Monday charged a Druze resident of the occupied Golan Heights with spying for Syria, the Shin Bet internal security service said in a statement.

It said that Iyad Johari, from the border village of Majdal Shams, was charged with having contact with a foreign agent and passing information to the enemy.
 
The Shin Bet said that he was arrested last month "on suspicion of maintaining contact with Syrian intelligence and passed information on Israeli army deployment on the Golan Heights." It did not give further details.
 
Israel public radio said that Johari was 38 years old and had studied medicine in Syria.
 
Majdal Shams is the largest village on the Golan Heights, which Israel captured from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War. Damascus demands a total Israeli withdrawal as the price for a peace settlement.
 
Israel unilaterally annexed the Golan in 1981. The vast majority of its 18,000 Syrian inhabitants, mostly Druze, who remained from the Golan's original population of 150,000, have refused to take Israeli citizenship.

July/30/2012

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Morse Fan

7/30/2012 11:31:16 PM

Yeees -- but this may not be such a big deal. Druze are not a "problem" in Israel; for example, they are the most loyal and often best IDF members, and some try to join (I think Israel allows it) even without being Israeli citizens. Not necessarily anything but a random incident, and newsworthy because it's unexpected. But there's always someone, and things can change . . . . It is a pain for them to be divided by the border.

Blue Beyond

7/30/2012 9:01:57 PM

Israel has been willing to return the Golan in exchange for a peace treaty with Syria. Turkey had been mediating talks between the two before the current conflict in Syria and before Turkey lost its value as a mediator owing to broken relations with Israel.
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