Syria is a failed state. We have seen how the eight-year-old brutal Syrian civil war led by the President Bashar Assad has left at least a half a million of his own people dead and 5.6 million refugees, along with 6.8 million internally displaced persons.
According to a recent article in Commentary by the legal scholar Vivian Bercovici, “Since World War II, the accepted understanding of international law that involves territorial loss during conflict is quite straightforward: The attacking nation may not retain permanently land acquired as a result of armed conflict.”
For those who are objecting to this move: Kindly inform us of with whom, precisely, Israel is supposed to negotiate with? Let’s take a look at the players inside Syria. Assad? Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi, the head of ISIS in the Levant? Qassem Soleimani of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps who works hand in glove with Assad? Hassan Nasrallah of Hezbollah, who now has several thousand troops in Syria?
The reality on the ground is that the 400 square miles of the Golan Heights is the demarcation line of a Hobbesian state of war of “man against man” and a relatively tranquil, democratic area.
The political reality within Israel is that every Israeli — right, left and center — agrees that the Golan Heights are critical for the survival of the state. Gen. Giora Eiland stated that “there is no solution to Israel’s survival without the retention of the Golan Heights.”
Every Israeli knows that whoever controls the high ground of the Golan controls the security of the area. Most of us have stood there and peered down into Damascus and Beirut. We know it affords a protective shield extending all the way down to Sea of Galilee.
And the Israeli intelligence and military officials up there are the “eyes and ears” for vital intelligence and military information that they willingly share with the United States.
Words matter. By framing the language of the Golan Heights as “Occupied Territory,” it whets the appetite of Israel’s enemies and indicates to them that this region is still in play.
That is why it is no less than infuriating when 14 nations of the UN Security Council met at the request of Syria to condemn America’s recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
Would any of these distinguished representatives ever subject their own citizens to the uncertainty of “trading land for peace” if they had such wolves banging at their gates?
As I have written many times in the past, the birth of Israel was supposed to have been the denouement of the age-old problem of antisemitism. Instead, it is the focal point for all antisemites.
And many of them are distinguished representatives wearing suits and ties, casting their votes in the United Nations.
Sarah N. Stern is founder and president of the Endowment for Middle East Truth, or EMET, an unabashedly pro-Israel and pro-American think tank and policy shop in Washington, DC.