US President Donald Trump has recognized the occupied Golan Heights as Israeli territory in an election boost for visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, drawing a sharp response from Syria, which once held the strategic land.
With Netanyahu looking over his shoulder at the White House, Trump signed a proclamation officially granting United States recognition of the occupied Golan as Israeli territory a dramatic shift from decades of US policy.
The move, which Trump announced in a tweet last Thursday, appeared to be the most overt gesture by the Republican president to help Netanyahu, who had been pressing Trump for the move since February 2017.
Netanyahu welcomed Trump’s action and said Israel had never had a better friend. He harked back to two previous Middle Eastern wars in justifying Israel’s need to hang on to the Golan.
Syria reacted swiftly to Trump’s proclamation, calling it a blatant attack on its sovereignty and territorial integrity and saying it had a right to reclaim the Golan.
The Syrian foreign minister said US recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights will lead to its isolation.
Minister Walid alMoualem added:
No matter how many years have passed, this will not change the fact that the Golan is an occupied Syrian territory.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Gazabased resistance faction Hamas both slammed the decision.
In a statement released by his office, Abbas said:
There is no legitimacy that can override UN Security Council resolutions, the UN General Assembly or the Arab Peace Initiative.
Meanwhile, Ismail Haniya, the leader of Hamas in Gaza, said the Golan Heights would forever remain an integral part of Syria.
At the UN, SecretaryGeneral Antonio Guterres is clear that the status of Golan has not changed, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.
The UN’s policy on Golan is reflected in the relevant resolutions of the Security Council and that policy has not changed.
A UN Security Council resolution adopted unanimously by the 15member body in 1981 declared that Israel’s decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights is null and void and without international legal effect.
It also demanded Israel rescind its decision.
Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement rejecting the US move and saying the Golan Heights are occupied Arab land.
NATO ally Turkey termed the US recognition unacceptable and said it would take action against it, including at the UN, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said.
The Arab League condemned the move saying that
Trump’s recognition does not change the area’s status.
The announcement triggered direct or implied criticism from European, as well as Middle Eastern, countries and organizations, including the UK, Germany, France, the European Union, Egypt, Russia, Bolivia, and Venezuela.
Source: The Palestine Chronicle