Danger still looms at Israel borderland
Now peaceful terrain of Golan Heights displays remnants of territorial conflict
Since its establishment following World War II, the nation state of Israel has been a continual focal point of much of the modern Middle East unrest.
One particular section of the small country's border with Syria continues to stir tensions in the tempestuous region.
Stretching nearly 1,200 square kilometers, the now peaceful plateau of Golan Heights stands in stark contrast to the historically violent battles that have taken place on the very same terrain.
But beneath the highest point of the region, a sign of the constant military presence is signified by an intricate maze of bunkers. Those bunkers now serve as a tourist attraction while the fields below still contain land mines from the decades old conflicts.
Its the strategically advantageous view provided by the area that makes it so appealing to the dueling military forces.
"If Syria takes control of this area, all the Galilee is going to be in danger of attacks from artillery, bombing and snipers," explained Reut Levy, a former Israeli soldier.
Since its declaration as an autonomous state in 1948 Israel has battled on and off with neighboring Syria over this crescent-shaped piece of land roughly the size of Okinawa.
That line in the sand between Arab and Jewish states has literally cut entire families in half. The divide is known as the Yelling Hill.
"Yelling Hill means that all the family they want to ask what is happening with the other family, on the other side like Israel. So they climb on the hill and start yelling, shouting really loud asking how the family is and if they need something," continued Levy.
The last conflict over this land was decades ago. The guns are gone from the bunkers. Peaceful villages now dot the plateau. And yet, it is never far from the minds of the people who live here, the strife of the past and its potential in the future.
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