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April 16, 2016 10:27 am

Israeli Cabinet to Hold First-Ever Meeting In Golan Heights to Affirm Sovereignty

avatar by JNS.org

The Golan Heights. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The Golan Heights. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

JNS.org – The Israeli cabinet is set to hold its first-ever meeting in the Golan Heights amid reports that the territory is being discussed as part of Syrian civil war peace talks.

Israel’s Channel 2 reported Friday that Israel’s cabinet will hold its weekly meeting in the Golan Heights on Sunday to “symbolize” Israel’s sovereignty in the area. According to recent reports, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is upset over indications that a negotiated deal on the Syrian civil war that is being worked on by world powers would declare the Golan Heights as Syrian territory.

Israel’s Channel 10 reported that Netanyahu had phoned U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry over the issue, and that he will also discuss the matter with Russian President Vladimir Putin during their upcoming meeting. The Prime Minister’s Office said Netanyahu will “act to ensure” that any language declaring that the territory belongs to Syria is unacceptable.

Israel gained control of the strategically important Golan Heights during the 1967 Six-Day War. After Israel briefly lost territory during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Israel and Syria established a United Nations-monitored cease-fire line in the region, with Israel taking the western two-thirds of the territory. Amid the ongoing Syrian civil war, the territory continues to play a strategic role for Israel. Iran, Hezbollah, and the Islamic State terror group all have a presence in Syrian territory near the Israeli border.

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