Yesterday was the 40th anniversary of Israel agreeing to give the village of Quneitra to Syria in the cease fire negotiations following the Yom Kippur War. Syria is celebrating:
The 26th of June, 1974 marks a day of pride for Syrians across the country on which the Israeli occupation of the southern city of Quneitra was brought to an end.What does Quneitra look like today, after 40 years of Syrian control?
The city of Quneitra, located in the Golan Heights, came under Israeli control on 10 June 1967, the last day of the Six-Day War. It was briefly recaptured by Syria during the 1973 War, only to once again fall in the Israeli occupation forces’ hands.
It was largely demolished by the time Syria, under the leadership of late President Hafez al-Assad, liberated it from occupation In 1974.
Up to this day, Quneitra stands a living witness to the barbarity of the Israeli occupation which deliberately inflicted the ugliest forms of savagery on almost everything in the city, leaving churches, mosques, hospitals, schools and facilities flattened even after a ceasefire was announced.
The exalted day of victory against the Zionist enemy continues to send the Syrians’ spirits soaring high over increased confidence in notching up a renewed victory against Syria’s new-old staunch enemies who have constantly been in trouble to subvert the Syrian state operating their terrorist tools all across the country to that effect.
As the people of Golan commemorate the liberation day, their hearts, as those of all the Syrians around the world, brim with hope to “liberate each and every inch of the usurped soil of the occupied Golan.”
Exacty the same as it looked in 1974:
It has been kept as a museum of sorts of "Zionist atrocities."
The city has often been used as a stop for foreign VIPs, ranging from the Soviet foreign minister Alexei Kosygin in June 1976 to Pope John Paul II in May 2001. Only a handful of families now live in the town, making a living by providing services for the United Nations troops patrolling the demilitarized zone. According to The Times, "the carefully preserved ruined city has become a pilgrimage site for a generation of Syrians."
The city can be visited by tourists, but a permit from the Syrian Ministry of the Interior is required, and sight-seeing is supervised by a military guide. The principal sights on the standard tour are the remains of Quneitra's hospital, mosque and Greek Orthodox church. A "Liberated Quneitra Museum", displaying artifacts from the city's ancient and medieval past, is housed in the former Ottoman caravanserai in the city centre.
There has been no rebuilding. The residents have to live elsewhere, permanently. Quneitra's value to Syria is purely symbolic, and they use that symbolism to the hilt, just to try to hurt Israel. The propaganda is worth far more to Syria than the rights of the former residents to return and rebuild.
This is a theme in the Arab world vis a vis Israel. After all, just as the only reason Quneitra remains in ruins is as an anti-Israel museum, the only reason that "refugee camps" still exist in the Arab world, and especially in PA and Hamas controlled areas, is to create a different kind of museum - a museum where human beings are told they must stay in the camps for their own good, and where Western NGOs and politicians can be taken to view suffering that could have ended decades ago.
They aren't camps - they are zoos, where Israel-haters can "tsk, tsk" about how awful those Zionists are for forcing the people to live in camps that the Arabs themselves are forcing them to live in.
The Western world is not tuned in to the importance Arabs give to symbolism. Especially Americans cannot understand how Arabs consider symbols to be more important than life itself, and how people can be sacrificed so easily for symbolism. But Quneitra, and UNRWA camps, show true Arab priorities every single day.