The US move to recognize the Israeli claim to the occupied Golan Heights will unlikely result in legal repercussions for Washington, but will further set it apart from the rest of the international community, analysts told RT.
US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the territory of the Golan Heights, seized by Israel from Syria during the Six-Day War of 1967 and formally annexed by the Jewish state in 1981, has drawn condemnation from the UN, the Arab League, Russia and Turkey.
The backlash is likely to be limited to verbal censure, since the US is a member of the UN Security Council and would quash any attempt to rein in it, experts have told RT. However, the move, in violation of UN resolutions, is bound to alienate the US further from the international community, said Huwaida Arraf, a Civil and Human Rights Attorney with the Palestinian-led International Solidarity Movement.
For Washington to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights is “just further isolating the US as Trump has been doing since he took power,” Arraf said. She added that the international community needs to stand up to the formal recognition and show that it “leaves the United States with its extremist policy, that stands in violation of international law and international order.”
Kamal Hawwash of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign noted the long record of the US abusing its veto powers to shield Israel, calling it a “rogue state.”
“The international community’s tools for dealing with rogue states, as Israel is one, has been paralyzed by the United States,” he said.
‘Timing was best, as no one dares openly side with Assad’
The US decision to recognize the Golan Heights as Israeli territory has been decried by Damascus as a “flagrant violation” of sovereignty. While the US move might be illegal under international law, the fact that it’s the Syrian government that is the victim may stop many nations from voicing their protest, Middle East analyst Ceng Sagnic told RT.
“Any action that would be opposing the US decision will be strategically selected not to mean support for the Syrian government,” Sagnic said. “Therefore, it was the best time for the US and Israel to move to legalize the Israeli presence on the Golan Heights,” he said.
Sagnic argues that Israel’s land grab is “the legitimization of the de-facto status” which has, in fact, benefited the region.
“Since 1981 Israel has been investing in those areas and turned the Golan Heights into a touristic region, not only the military bastion for potential attacks from Syria or Lebanon.”
‘Making the place less secure’
Contrary to Israeli assertions, the US decision will only inflame the tense security situation in the region, Hawwash said. He argued that the move will trigger the Syrian government and its people, who will now be thinking about ways to reclaim the territory.
“It’ll make the place less secure, because the people of Syria, who say the Golan Heights are part of their country, are now entitled to say: ‘We don’t recognize this decision by America and, in time, we’ll take our land back.’”
“And they have every right to do that because it’s Syrian land,” he said.
Arraf also dismissed the Israeli notion that American recognition would make the disputed area more secure. She argued that Israel’s goal is not to protect its people but to snatch the territory’s vast natural resources.
“It is not for security, as Israel has been saying, because Syria has not launched an attack on Israel since 1973, but Israel has been launching attacks on its neighbors. But Israel wants this territory because of its resources, and in line with its expansionist policy of taking over territory by force,” she explained.
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