Mar 21, 2019
Critics on Thursday swiftly condemned an announcement by President Donald Trump that he believes the U.S. should recognize Israel's claim over the Golan Heights, the Syrian territory Israel has illegally occupied for over half a century.
"After 52 years it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel's Sovereignty over the Golan Heights," the president said on Twitter, "which is of critical strategic and security importance to the State of Israel and Regional Stability!"
\u201cAfter 52 years it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel\u2019s Sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which is of critical strategic and security importance to the State of Israel and Regional Stability!\u201d— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1553187046
The announcement was met with praise by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
\u201cAt a time when Iran seeks to use Syria as a platform to destroy Israel, President Trump boldly recognizes Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Thank you President Trump! @realDonaldTrump\u201d— Benjamin Netanyahu - \u05d1\u05e0\u05d9\u05de\u05d9\u05df \u05e0\u05ea\u05e0\u05d9\u05d4\u05d5 (@Benjamin Netanyahu - \u05d1\u05e0\u05d9\u05de\u05d9\u05df \u05e0\u05ea\u05e0\u05d9\u05d4\u05d5) 1553188014
If implemented as official U.S. policy, Trump's plan could have long lasting effects on the Middle East.
The territory was captured by Israel from Syria during the Six Day War in 1967 and officially annexed by Israel in 1981. While the annexation is effectively recognized as illegal under international law, Israel has never seriously entertained giving the territory back to Syria.
\u201cUN Security Council resolution 497, adopted unanimously in 1981, declared Israel's annexation of the Golan Heights "null and void and without international legal effect."\u201d— John Glaser (@John Glaser) 1553189745
The right thing to do, said women led peace group CODEPINK, would be for Israel to give the land back to Syria.
"This is foolish, counter-productive and contrary to decades-old [international] law barring the acquisition of territory through force," said Jamil Dakwar, the director of the ACLU Human Rights Program.
\u201cThis is foolish, counter-productive and contrary to decades-old int\u2019l law barring the acquisition of territory through force. As the Armenian proverb goes: If a fool drops a stone into a well, even forty wise people can\u2019t get it out again. https://t.co/M193gVCeef\u201d— Jamil Dakwar (@Jamil Dakwar) 1553196035
The announcement was flatly rejected by the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights.
\u201cNo unilateral "declarations"\u2014whether about Jerusalem, the Golan Heights, or Palestinian refugees\u2014can erase the Palestinian and Syrian identities of those places or the ongoing resistance of the Palestinian and Syrian peoples against oppression.\u201d— #DefendMasaferYatta USCPR (@#DefendMasaferYatta USCPR) 1553193811
Trump's decision was met with wry cynicism from The Intercept's Mehdi Hasan.
"I still remember some people telling me during the last election that Trump would be tougher on Israel than Clinton," Hasan tweeted. "Lol."
The ramifications of the decision may reach beyond the Middle East, as international affairs writer Derek Davidson observed.
"I'm guessing it's not a big concern of Trump's but if the US is going to recognize Israel's annexation of the Golan then it really has no basis on which to continue rejecting Russia's annexation of Crimea," Davidson said. "Just one of the many side effects of this decision."
\u201cI\u2019m guessing it\u2019s not a big concern of Trump\u2019s but if the US is going to recognize Israel\u2019s annexation of the Golan then it really has no basis on which to continue rejecting Russia\u2019s annexation of Crimea. Just one of the many side effects of this decision.\u201d— derek davison (@derek davison) 1553191296
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