Druze Strike on Anniversary of Israel\'s Annexing Golan Heights
Druze schools and businesses shut down Thursday as residents honored a strike on the 19th anniversary of Israel's annexation of the Golan Heights.
Protests were observed in several villages in the mountainous region, most notably in Majda Shams where 1,000 Druze marched in support of the Palestinian Intifada, or uprising, and waved Palestinian and Syrian flags.
The Israeli parliament voted in favor of expanding civil administration to the Golan Heights on December 14, 1981, a de facto annexation.
Israel had captured the territory from Syria in the June 1967 war. An estimated 17,000 Druzes live in the area and have never renounced their Syrian citizenship.
Israel counts some 80,000 Druzes citizens, the majority of whom live in the northern part of the country. They are required to serve in the military, unlike Israeli Arabs.
The Druze belong to a branch of Islam that split from Sunni Muslims in the 11th century. Most live around Mount Hermon at the crossroads of Israel, Syria and Lebanon – MAJDAL SHAMS, Golan Heights (AFP)
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