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.
President Trump, who is hosting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House, says he will sign a proclamation recognizing Israel's sovereign right over the Golan Heights. https://t.co/sbkZ4ST6nx pic.twitter.com/abrd5cMKnI
— CNN (@CNN) March 25, 2019
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.
— RT (@RT_com) March 25, 2019
The Syrian foreign minister said US recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights will lead to its isolation.
Minister Walid al-Moualem added:
“No matter how many years have passed, this will not change the fact that the Golan is an occupied Syrian territory.”
The U.S. recognizing Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights could result in an all-out war between Israel and Syria.
Cartoon from @LatuffCartoons.
More -> https://t.co/uNoIE7s9qi
— MintPress News (@MintPressNews) March 25, 2019
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Gaza-based 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.”
— al whit (@soitiz) March 26, 2019
Meanwhile, Ismail Haniya, the leader of Hamas in Gaza, said the Golan Heights would “forever remain an integral part of Syria”.
At the UN, Secretary-General 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.”
— Arab News (@arabnews) March 25, 2019
A UN Security Council resolution adopted unanimously by the 15-member 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.
Turkey finds the US recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights unacceptable and will take action against the decision, including at the UN – Foreign Minister Cavusoglu pic.twitter.com/lcl5DJcwvt
— TRT World Now (@TRTWorldNow) March 25, 2019
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.
(AJE, PC, Social Media)