US recognition of Golan as 'Israeli' would spell disaster

US recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights would spell disaster
3 min read
18 May, 2018
Dire consequences and dangerous precedents await if the US is to approve a proposal that would officially recognise the occupied Golan Heights as Israeli.
Israeli soldiers watch over Syria from the Golan Heights [Getty]

US lawmakers are set to review a proposal to officially recognise Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights region it has illegally occupied since the 1967 War, in a move that threatens to further distance the region from lasting peace. 

Republican Congressman Ron DeSantis put forward the proposed resolution on Thursday that may see the US acknowledge the occupied territory as fully Israeli, being the first country ever to do so.

"It is the sense of the Congress that the Golan Heights represent an integral part of the state of Israel and are crucial to the ability of Israel to safeguard its borders and maintain its existence," the proposal, published on conservative news website the Washington Free Beacon.

"Given the civil war in Syria and the expansion of Iranian influence in Syria, the United States should recognise Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights," it adds.

Read more: Power play and wars of influence: What is the importance of the Golan Heights?

The tiny but strategically advantageous territory of the Golan, located on the border between Israel and Syria, has recently witnessed a series of escalating tit-for-tat exchanges that many now fear may develop into a fully-fledged war between Israel and Iranian-backed forces in Syria hungry for influence over the region as a whole.

It is foreseeable that the current US administration will take all possible measures to negate Iranian influence coming anywhere near its important allies, especially with the renewed Iranian vigour toward its proxy conflicts following the US withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal that will reimpose suffocating sanctions on the Iranian economy.

If the resolution is successful however, such a move would set an alarming precedent of the US recognising disputed territory as Israeli, flouting internationally-recognised borders and the green line that is central to the peace process between Israel and Palestine.

Beyond that, Israeli sovereignty over the Golan would spell eternal occupation for the 25,000 Syrian Arabs - mostly of the belonging to the already marginalised Druze community.

This backing would legitimise Israeli usurpation and annexation of land that belongs to its neighbours, a worrying thought for Palestinians in East Jerusalem and the West Bank whose land is routinely settled and encroached upon by Israel with near impunity.

Most recently, the US decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem and in doing so officially recognising it as the capital of Israel in effect scuppered any hopes of a meaningful peace process with the US as an impartial broker.

The mass protests that erupted out of Palestinian anger at what they see as an American betrayal of their right, saw over 60 killed by Israeli sniper fire on Monday as they demonstrated on the Gaza border against the Jersualem embassy opening.

Rep. Ron DeSantis was himself present at the opening, which he praised on Twitter as 'historic' and 'an honour', along with Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner who made scant mention of the massacre taking place only dozens of miles away as they delivered their inauguration speeches.

The bleak thought of this pattern of US belligerence and its deadly fallout spiralling even further should be a major cause for concern for the international community as a whole.