Cotton, Cruz and Gallagher submit bill calling for US to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights; Bill: It is in the United States’ national security interest to ensure that Israel retains control of the Golan Heights…
United States Republican Congressmen introduced another bill to the US Senate and House of Representatives calling on the United States to officially recognize the Golan Heights as Israeli territory.
The bill was submitted on Tuesday by Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Wisconsin Representative Mike Gallagher. The State Legislation is an additional effort by US lawmakers to press the United States to recognize Israel’s security needs and sovereignty in the region.
The bill calls for the United States “to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, to promote and conduct joint projects with Israel on the Golan Heights (including projects in basic and applied scientific fields, in industrial research and development and in strategic and applied research of agricultural problems).” It also requests that “Any reference to ‘Israel’ in any existing or future act of Congress relating to appropriations or foreign commerce, including customs and international trade, shall be interpreted to include the Golan Heights.”
Referring to the eight-year Syrian civil war and the threats Syria plays to Israel’s security, the bill claims “it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of a peace agreement between Israel and Syria will be an Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights… it is in the United States’ national security interest to ensure that Israel retains control of the Golan Heights and the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad faces diplomatic and geopolitical consequences for its killing of civilians, the ethnic cleansing of Arab Sunnis, and the use of weapons of mass destruction.”
In January of this year, the United States for the first time opposed a resolution at the United Nations General Assembly calling on Israel to return the Golan Heights to Syria. Of the nine resolutions passed against the State of Israel, only the United States and Israel voted against the resolution on “occupied Syrian Golan” with 151 votes in favor and 14 abstentions.
Each year, the General Assembly adopts several anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian resolutions. Resolutions passed this year include condemning Israel’s settlement activity, four resolutions relating to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees and the resolution on the Golan Heights. One of the resolutions even accuses Israel of “repressive measures” on Syrian civilians, even though the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has been assisting and treating Syrians injured in its civil war through its field hospitals and humanitarian missions over the past several years.
Israel continues to lobby for international recognition of the Golan Heights amidst global condemnation and accusations of occupation and international law violations.
While the UN voted in January, US National Security Adviser John Bolton met with Prime Minister Netanyahu in Jerusalem. Bolton was taken on a tour of the Golan Heights, Israeli and IDF officials showing him the security needs in the Golan alongside threats from neighboring Syria and Lebanon. Addressing Israel’s sovereignty and security needs ahead of Bolton’s tour, Prime Minister Netanyahu stated at the time, “The Golan Heights is tremendously important for our security. I think that when you’re there you will be able to understand perfectly why we will never leave the Golan Heights and why it’s important that all countries recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights.”
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