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December 18, 2018 2:57 pm

Senators Push for US Recognition of Israeli Sovereignty Over Golan Heights

avatar by Algemeiner Staff

An old military vehicle positioned on the Israeli side of the border with Syria, near the Druze village of Majdal Shams in the Golan Heights, Feb. 11, 2018. Photo: Reuters / Ammar Awad.

A resolution was introduced in the Senate on Tuesday calling for US recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

The non-binding bill was authored by Republicans Ted Cruz of Texas and Tom Cotton of Arkansas.

“Israel’s northern border is threatened by Iranian forces and their proxies in Lebanon and Syria, including Hezbollah’s 150,000 rockets, armed drones, newly-discovered terror tunnels, and more,” Cruz and Cotton said in a joint statement on Tuesday. “Meanwhile, with the ayatollahs’ help, Bashar al-Assad’s regime is on the verge of securing victory in Syria’s civil war. He may soon turn his attention back to threatening the Jewish state.”

“Israel gained possession over the Golan Heights in a defensive war over 50 years ago, and has responsibly controlled the area ever since,” they added. “It’s past time for the United States to recognize reality by affirming Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights.”

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A number of Israeli political figures — including Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid in an interview with The Algemeiner earlier this year — have been pushing for such a move by the US.

“I’m trying to arrange bipartisan support for American recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights,” Lapid said in the May interview. “Reality has changed. We cannot return the Golan Heights to a mass murderer who just killed half a million of his own people. And the last seven years of civil war in Syria have just proved how important it is for Israel to have the strategic control of the Golan Heights.”

“The US has never denied our right to the Golan Heights, but it’s been hesitant on the issue since the mid-1970s,” he continued. “Now, I think, there is a point for the Americans to take a small stand, opposite the psychopath, without it being necessary for them to put boots on the ground or go and fight another war in the Middle East. It’s time for the international community to say, that if there is a choice between a democracy that respects human rights and a crazy dictatorship, that it will side with the democracy.”

Israel took control of the basaltic plateau from Syria during the Six-Day War in 1967, and later annexed the area in 1981 — a step not recognized internationally.

In ultimately fruitless peace talks held by Israel and Syria in the 1990s and 2000s, the return of the Golan was the Damascus regime’s main demand.

Earlier this year, the US opposed for the first time ever an annual UN General Assembly resolution calling for Israel to rescind its sovereignty over the Golan.

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