UNSC rejects Netanyahu’s declaration of Golan Heights as sovereign, Israeli territory; Israel’s Foreign Ministry responds to Council
On Tuesday, the United Nation’s Security Council rejected Prime Minister Netanyahu’s declaration that the Golan Heights is Israeli sovereign territory.
Current president of the Council, Chinese Ambassador Liu Jieyi stated that the Council’s stance on the Golan Heights has not changed, stating the “Council members expressed their deep concern over recent Israeli statements about the Golan, and stressed that the status of the Golan remains unchanged.” He referenced UN Security Council Resolution 497 from 1981 which calls on Israel to rescind annexation of the Golan Heights.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry responded to the Security Council stating “The statement of the Security Council ignores the reality in Syria. Who is Israel supposed to hold negotiations with on the future of the Golan, Daesh [Islamic State]? Al Qaeda? Hezbollah? The Iranian and Syrian forces who slaughtered hundreds of thousands of people? In light of the war raging in Syria and the stability and the security that Israel has established in the Golan for the last 50 or so years, the suggestion that Israel go down from the Golan is not reasonable.”
Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon also released a statement following the Security Council meeting and declaration of its stance on the Golan Heights. He stated “Holding a meeting on this topic completely ignores the reality in the Middle East. While thousands of people are being massacred in Syria, and millions of citizens have become refugees, the Security Council has chosen to focus on Israel, the only true democracy in the Middle East… It’s unfortunate that interested parties are attempting to use the council for unfair criticism of Israel.”
Netanyahu previously called on the international community to accept the Golan Heights as part of the State of Israel, stating “In the 19 years the Golan was under Syrian occupation, it was used for bunkers, barbed wire fences, landmines, and aggression. It was used for war. In the 49 years it has been under Israeli rule, it has been used for agriculture, tourism, economic initiatives, construction. It is being used for peace.” Addressing Syria’s ongoing civil war he stated, “Whatever happens on the other side of the border, the line is not going to change. The time has come after 50 years for the international community to acknowledge that the Golan Heights will permanently remain under Israeli sovereignty… I chose to hold this special government meeting in the Golan Heights to send a clear message. The Golan Heights will forever remain in Israel’s hands.”
The US State Department also rejected Netanyahu’s stance and declaration, stating last week that “The U.S. position on the issue is unchanged. This position was maintained by both Democratic and Republican administrations. Those territories are not part of Israel and the status of those territories should be determined through negotiations. The current situation in Syria does not allow this.”