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February 27, 2019 4:24 pm

Republican Lawmakers Renew Push for US Recognition of Israeli Sovereignty Over Golan Heights

avatar by Algemeiner Staff

An Israeli soldier rides an armored vehicle during an army drill in the Golan Heights, Aug. 7, 2018. Photo: Reuters / Amir Cohen.

Republican Congress members introduced companion bills in the Senate and House of Representatives this week calling for US recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

The legislation — filed by Senators Ted Cruz of Texas, Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Rep. Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin — described Israel’s continued control of the Golan as an American “national security interest.”

“The United States has been committed for over 40 years to ensuring Israel’s security from attacks emanating from across the Golan Heights,” the lawmakers stated. “The threat Iran poses to America and Israel requires acknowledging the reality of Israel’s control over the territory as a matter of national security.”

Similar legislation was proposed toward the end of the term of the last Congress.

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A number of Israeli political figures — including Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid in an interview with The Algemeiner last 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.

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