Unlike the West Bank—which Palestinians have long claimed for their homeland; which the Israeli government considers occupied territory; and the fate of which has deeply divided Israeli public opinion since they were captured by Israel in 1967—the Golan Heights has long been a matter of consensus among Israelis. In 1981 Israel effectively annexed it, extending civilian rule into the territory—which it did not do with the West Bank and Gaza, but which it did do with eastern Jerusalem, its “undivided, eternal capital.” Today Jewish residents in the Golan outnumber Muslims by about eight to one. (In addition, about 19,000 Druze live there, the great majority of whom support Israeli rule.) This is also a crucial strategic plateau, and it is thus no wonder that Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin famously declared withdrawal from the Golan to be “unthinkable.”And once you start, it's hard to stop.
Yet in recent years, thinking the unthinkable has become a kind of national compulsion, a nervous tic.
Read the whole thing.