Golan Heights

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Golan Heights,

strategic upland region (2003 est. pop. 10,500), c.500 sq mi (1,250 sq km), SW Syria. It borders S Lebanon, NE Israel, and NW Jordan. It takes its name from the ancient city of GolanGolan
, in the Bible, refuge city, located in the tribal territory of Manasseh E of the Jordan; it was also a levitical city. Golan gives its name to the rocky plateau known as the Golan Heights.
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 and was known as Gaulanitis in New Testament times. It is a rocky plateau overlooking Israel where elevations range from c.6,500 ft (2,000 m) in the north to below sea level along the Sea of Galilee (Lake Tiberias) and the Yarmuk River in the south. The Golan Heights were fortified and used for artillery attacks on Israel after 1948. The region was captured by Israel during the Six-Day War in 1967 (see Arab-Israeli WarsArab-Israeli Wars,
conflicts in 1948–49, 1956, 1967, 1973–74, and 1982 between Israel and the Arab states. Tensions between Israel and the Arabs have been complicated and heightened by the political, strategic, and economic interests in the area of the great powers.
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) and formally annexed by Israel in 1981, an act that was not recognized internationally. A number of Israeli settlements have been established in the area; the region has become an important source of water for Israel. Ultimate control of the Golan Heights has been a stumbling block to Israeli-Syrian peace talks.