Al-Marsad – Arab Human Rights Centre in Golan Heights (“Al-Marsad”) condemns United States (“U.S.”) President Donald Trump’s tweet calling for the “United States to fully recognize Israel’s [s]overeignty over the Golan Heights.” President Trump’s tweet signals a major shift in U.S. policy that runs contrary to facts, logic, and international law while threatening stability across the Middle East.
Israel invaded the occupied Syrian Golan in 1967 in an act of aggression that saw 340 out of 345 native Syrian villages and farms razed to the ground and the displacement of 95 percent of the region’s population, approximately 130,000 people.
Israel has illegally occupied the Syrian Golan ever since, systematically instituting policies that perpetuate the discrimination and oppression of the native Syrian population. Numerous United Nations Security Council Resolutions have condemned Israel’s illegal occupation of the Syrian Golan, including Resolutions 242 and 497.
The U.S. supported and voted in favor of both of these resolutions, signaling that it does not believe Israel’s seizure and asserted annexation of the Syrian Golan is legitimate.
Furthermore, international law is unequivocal in its outlawing of the acquisition of territory after its seizure through acts of aggression. The U.S. has assertively supported this principle elsewhere around the globe. It is unclear why the U.S. would change its standard when considering the occupation of the Syrian Golan.
President Trump’s tweet claims that recognizing the occupied Syrian Golan as part of Israel is necessary for Israeli security and regional stability despite the fact that the occupied Syrian Golan has remained virtually untouched by conflict for decades.
Israel has recently attempted to claim that Hezbollah and Iran are building up forces in the Syrian Golan. As Trump’s tweet shows, the U.S. has latched onto this idea. However, Iran and Hezbollah were present and maintained strong influence in Syria in the 1990s and early 2000s as well. At that time, Israel was willing to return the occupied Syrian Golan to Syria in exchange for a comprehensive peace deal.
Additionally, even Israeli analysts have stated that the claimed “Hezbollah build up” near the occupied Syrian Golan is overstated and being used as a political tool to take advantage of the Syrian conflict and bolster political support ahead of Israeli national elections. In reality, the only threat to security in the occupied Syrian Golan is prolonged illegal occupation and U.S. recognition of Israel’s claimed “sovereignty” over the region.
Al-Marsad denounces President Trump’s tweet. U.S. recognition of the occupied Syrian Golan as part of Israel would validate systematic human rights abuses, glorify violations of international law, and cause a major shift in U.S. policy that will destabilize the Middle East.