The Israeli Occupation Police Uses Excessive Force Against the Syrian Residents of the Golan Heights as the Israeli Company Energix Implements a Wind Turbine Project in the Occupied Golan

PARIS (June 23, 2023) – On the morning of Tuesday, June 20, 2023, the residents of the occupied Golan were surprised when more than 1,000 Israeli police special forces, accompanied by a cavalry squad to suppress protests, and vehicles equipped with water cannons, stormed their agricultural lands in the midst of the cherry-picking season. The members of these forces closed down dozens of agricultural roads and prevented farmers from reaching their lands, while dozens of heavy machineries were deployed to start implementing the wind turbines project. This project is to be established within the agricultural lands owned by the Syrian population, in which they have planted it with apples and cherries and has been the main source of income for the population for decades.

The information obtained by the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM) from eyewitnesses and Syrians residing in the occupied Golan indicates the use of excessive force by the Israeli occupation police against Syrian residents who gathered in their lands to protest peacefully against the start of the implementation of the project, which they oppose completely. According to eyewitnesses, the occupation police used rubber and live bullets, targeting the upper parts of the body, especially the head and face. They also used tear gas, in addition to using drones to throw gas bombs at the peaceful protesters, which resulted in the injury of dozens of them. The injuries ranged from moderate to serious and several people were transferred to hospitals for treatment and underwent surgeries.

Energix, an Israeli company specializing in renewable energy is implementing a wind turbine project, which consists of 32 wind turbines for energy production, each with a height of 220 meters, and 22 of them will be built in the first phase. As indicated in a statement issued by SCM on April 16, 2020, and signed by 17 Syrian and international human rights organizations, the Israeli occupation authority approved this dangerous project despite hundreds of objections submitted by human rights organizations in the name of 11 agricultural cooperatives and hundreds of farmers demanding its cancellation; the committee rejected all these objections.

SCM condemns the use of excessive force by the Israeli occupation police against Syrians in occupied Golan and stresses the illegality of this project, which aims to serve the economy of the occupying state, and demands:

  • The Israeli occupation authority to fulfill its obligations stipulated in international law and international humanitarian law, mainly specified in the Hague Regulations of 1907 in Articles (42 to 56), the Fourth Geneva Convention Articles (27 to 34) and (47 to 78), the provisions of the first additional protocol, and customary international humanitarian law.
    • to stop this project and all settlement expansion activities in the Golan, refraining from making any changes except in cases that involve the security and well-being of the Syrian population.
    • to stop the exploitation of natural resources in the occupied Syrian Golan, whether by the occupying power or private commercial companies, which is in line with international and human rights standards.
  • The international community to exert pressure on the Israeli government, the occupying power, and demand that it refrains from using excessive force and violence against the Syrian population, and to immediately stop the wind turbine project, in fulfillment of its obligations stipulated in international human rights conventions and covenants, all while respecting the rights of the Syrian population in the occupied Golan, and not to prejudice private property and refrain from confiscating it.