Water stream in Golan Heights
Photo: Elad Gershgoran
For years Israel has been pumping water from springs in the Golan Heights to the shrinking Sea of Galilee, depriving Syria of major water resources, experts said Sunday.
Water from some springs exploited by Israel would naturally stream downhill to Syria had it not been to human intervention on the Israeli side of the border, they added.
Experts fear Israel's continuous exploitation of water resources in the Golan Heights will irk Syria and up the chances of a war breaking out this summer between the two enemies.
Water disputes triggered military confrontations between Syria and Israel in the past. In 1964, Syria diverted the Hasbani and Banyas rivers, depriving Israel of major fresh water resources. Israel retaliated by launching airstrikes at Syrian constructions.
Three years later the Six-Day War broke out and Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria. The Golan Heights was officially annexed in 1981 when the Knesset voted in favor of making it Israeli territory.
Since last summer's war with Hizbullah, tensions have been running high between Israel and Syria, whose president recently threatened to free the Golan Heights by force if diplomacy failed.