Deputy Minister for Diplomacy Michael Oren (Kulanu) is urging Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to try to persuade U.S. President-elect Donald Trump to formally recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
“It’s very important for the U.S. to back a formal recognition of Israel’s control of the Golan,” Oren told Bloomberg on Wednesday. “If it weren’t for Israel’s presence, the Syria war would be spilling over to Jordan. So Israel’s presence in the Golan is indispensable for Mideast stability.”
He said that Netanyahu should raise the issue with Trump in their upcoming meeting.
Following its conquest of the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Six Day War, Israel in 1981 extended legal jurisdiction to the region, in effect annexing it. The U.S. has withheld recognition, maintaining that the region’s status should be determined in negotiations between Israel and Syria.
When Netanyahu visited the Golan Heights in April, he said that “the time has come for the international community to recognize reality. First, that whatever will be on the other side of the border, the border will not change. And secondly,” Netanyahu added, “the time has come after 40 years for the international community to finally recognize that the Golan Heights will remain forever under Israeli sovereignty.”
Aside from its value as a security buffer zone, Oren pointed to the Jewish connection to the area, as evidenced by the discovery of 34 ancient synagogues there.
“This was always part of the land of Israel. So let us extend our sovereignty in a formal way,” he said.