israel claims sovereignty over golan heights un rejects
Last Updated : GMT 05:21:58
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Last Updated : GMT 05:21:58
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Israel claims sovereignty over Golan Heights, UN rejects

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Arab Today, arab today Israel claims sovereignty over Golan Heights, UN rejects

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Cairo - Arab Today

Israel's recent claim that a rocky plateau it seized from Syria decades ago would remain as part of the country was rejected by the UN Security Council.

"The Golan Heights will always remain in Israel's hands," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the the first-ever cabinet meeting on the Golan on April 17.

"The time has come after 40 years for the international community to finally recognize that the Golan Heights will remain forever under Israeli sovereignty," Netanyahu declared.

The UN Security Council on Tuesday expressed its "deep concern" at Netanyahu's statements about the Golan, stressing the status of the occupied land on the Syrian border with Israel "remains unchanged."

The remarks came as Liu Jieyi, the permanent representative of China which holds the rotating council presidency for April, was speaking to reporters at the UN headquarters in New York after a closed-door council meeting.

The council resolution 497 of 1981 made it clear that Israel's decision at the time to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration in the Golan was "null and void and without international legal effect," Liu said.

Israel seized the Golan from Syria in the 1967 Mideast War. The two neighbors signed an armistice in 1974 and a UN observer force has been deployed on the cease-fire line since then. Israel unilaterally annexed it in 1981, a move never recognized by the international community.

Bashar al-Jaafari, Syria's envoy to the UN, has denounced Netanyahu's declaration as "provocative", saying his country has the right to take back the Golan under the UN charter.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the collective voice of the Muslim world, described the Israeli leader's statement as a dangerous move to challenge the international resolutions and law.

The OIC General Secretary Iyad bin Amin Madani said that the Golan is an Arab land, demanding an end to the Israeli occupation of all Arab lands since 1967.

Netanyahu's statement was also met with rejections from western countries, including Germany and the United States, whose State Department spokesman John Kirby said the Obama administration does not consider the Golan to be a part of Israel.

Over the years, there have been on-and-off peace talks on the Golan between Syria and Israel. However, the negotiations were completely broke off owning to the eruption civil war in Syria in 2011.

According to Israeli media, Netanyahu's surprising remarks on the Golan were made out of fears that Israel might come under pressure to return the strategic ridge, a key source of fresh water for Israel, amidst the UN-brokered peace talks to settle the war in Syria.

Currently, there are estimated 20,000 Jewish settlers and some 20,000 Syrians living in the area, where "significant amounts" of oil were found in 2015.

Source: XINHUA

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