Trump's Stance on Golan Heights Draws Global Condemnation

Tuesday, 26 March, 2019 - 14:00
Washington- Asharq Al-Awsat

US President Donald Trump's recognition of the Golan Heights as Israeli territory does not change the area's status, announced Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit.

Aboul Gheit condemned Trump’s proclamation in a statement saying it is void and a blatant violation of the international law.

"The US declaration will not change the legal status of the Golan Heights as an occupied Syrian territory," he stressed.

The Sec-Gen warned that legitimizing the occupation is a “new approach in the US foreign policy." He affirmed that the Arab League rejects this approach and backs the Syrian right to retrieve its occupied lands.

Japan on Tuesday said that its stance on the Syrian Golan Heights has not changed; affirming Tokyo will not recognize it as Israeli territory.

"Japan does not recognize the Israeli annexation of the Golan Heights, and there will be no change in this position," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a press conference.

"We will keep a close eye on the situation with interest," the top government spokesperson added.

For its part, Saudi Arabia expressed its firm rejection and condemnation of the declaration issued by the Trump administration, reiterating its firm and principled position on the Golan Height that it is "an occupied Syrian Arab land in accordance with relevant international resolutions and that attempts to impose a fait accompli do not change facts."

The Kingdom cautioned that this move will have great negative effects on the peace process in the Middle East, security and stability of the region, reported Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

Saudi Arabia called on all parties to respect the resolutions of the international legitimacy and the Charter of the United Nations.

Also, the United Arab Emirates has expressed its deep regret and condemnation of the recognition, describing it as a move that disrupts all efforts to achieve a lasting peace in the Middle East.

In a statement issued today, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, MoFAIC, affirmed the UAE's firm position in recognizing the Golan Heights as Syrian territory, adding that the decision by the US Administration cannot change this reality.

Trump has signed a proclamation Monday, officially granting US recognition of Golan Heights as an Israeli territory. He signed it with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at his side, who was on a visit to Washington where the two leaders held talks at the White House.

Prior to the signing ceremony, Trump addressed the press saying the aggressive acts by Iran and Hezbollah in southern Syria continue to make the Golan Heights a potential launching ground for attacks on Israel.

“Any possible future peace agreement in the region must account for Israel’s need to protect itself from Syria and other regional threats. Based on these unique circumstances, it is therefore appropriate to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.”

Russia, Syria, and Lebanon also criticized the United States for recognizing the Golan Heights as Israeli territory.

Damascus called the US decision a “blatant attack” on its sovereignty and territorial integrity, saying it had a right to reclaim the territory.

The US president has recognized the annexation of the occupied Syrian Golan to the Zionist occupation entity in a flagrant aggression of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria, turning a blind eye to all international reactions that condemned such resolution, an official source at the Syrian Foreign and Expatriates Ministry told state-owned news agency SANA.

“The liberation of the Golan by all available means and its return to the Syrian motherland is an inalienable right.”

“The US president has no right or legal capacity to legalize the occupation or usurp the others’ land by force… and this US hostile policy makes the region and the world subject to all dangers,” the source said.

Russia also condemned Trump’s recognition, warning of a “new wave” of tensions in the Middle East in the wake of shift in US policy.

“Unfortunately, this could drive a new wave of tension in the Middle East region,” warned Russia’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.

Lebanese Foreign Affairs Ministry also issued a statement on Monday, stressing the Golan Heights is a Syrian Arab land and no decision can change this fact, emphasizing that no country can forge history by transferring the ownership of land from one country to another.

"The US presidential declaration on Israel's right to annex the Syrian Golan is condemnable and breaches all rules of international law, undermining any effort to reach a just peace," according to the statement.

Speaker of Arab Parliament Mishaal bin Fahm al-Salami strongly rejected Trump’s proclamation describing it as “illegal”, “null” and has no “legal grounds.”

Salami said the US decision is a flagrant violation of United Nations General Assembly resolutions and UN Security Council Resolution, according to UAE-news agency WAM.

Salami noted that such a decision represents a "serious and unprecedented challenge" to the will of all countries of the world and is a confiscation of land by force. He stressed that the United States has proven to be fully biased to the occupying power by its recent recognition of occupied Jerusalem as the capital for the occupiers.

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