Al-Marsad – Arab Human Rights Centre in Golan Heights (“Al-Marsad”) denounces and condemns the United States of America’s (“U.S.”) recognition of the occupied Syrian Golan as part of Israel. The decision sets a dangerous standard that glorifies systematic human rights abuses, legitimizes illegal aggression and occupation, and endangers peace in the Middle East.
Israel committed an act of aggression when it attacked Syria in 1967, seized the Syrian Golan, and forcibly displaced 95 percent of its population. Israel continues to violate international law in the occupied Golan, including the Hague Regulations and Geneva Conventions, which regulate belligerent occupation.
Israel’s actions of annexing illegal seized land, trying to force its citizenship on the natives of that land, and then systematically discriminating against those natives when they reject the occupation violate numerous international standards. The United Nations, including in multiple U.S.-backed Security Council Resolutions, has always rejected Israel’s activities in the occupied Golan. With its decision today, the U.S. shows support for egregious abuses of international law and encourages territorial expansionism through aggression. This sets an extremely hazardous standard. The U.S. has proved that it can no longer be an honest broker in the Middle East.
Syrians in the occupied Golan face calculated Israeli efforts to restrict their building and land use, destroy their enterprises, cleanse their Arab culture, manipulate their Syrian identity, and suffocate their freedom of movement. Syrians have always rejected Israeli control of their land and will remain steadfast in standing against Israel’s systematic oppression. The U.S.’s decision will have no impact on this reality. Instead, the decision projects to the world that the U.S. is not the beacon of liberty and justice it proclaims itself to be; rather, it shows that the U.S. prefers defending ethnically-driven harassment and unlawful territorial conquest.
The U.S.’s decision is not only disastrous in what it stands for, but it also poses an immediate and direct threat to the region. The occupied Golan has remained virtually untouched by conflict for decades. The U.S.’s decision threatens this stability as it venerates acts of aggression, discounts international law, polarizes countries in the region, and eliminates avenues for a lasting peace.
Al-Marsad defends the rights of native Syrians in the occupied Golan and protects international law in the region. In pursuing this mission, Al-Marsad unequivocally rejects the U.S.’s decision today and will contest all of its practical impacts. The Syrian people must have the final say in what happens on their land.