by Ariel Kahana, Reuters and Israel Hayom Staff
Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz says U.S. pullout from Syria weakens Israel's position against Russia, Iran and Syria • U.S. recognition of Israeli sovereignty over Golan Heights would bolster Israeli security and reaffirm U.S.-Israel ties, he says.
Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz
Photo: Oren Ben Hakoon
The United States should recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights to compensate Israel for the new, tougher reality in Syria in the wake of President Donald Trump's decision to pull U.S. troops out of Syria, Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz said Sunday.
Israel, like others, was caught off-guard by Trump's announcement last week that he would withdraw all the roughly 2,000 U.S. troops from Syria in coming weeks.
Israel seized control of the Golan Heights in the 1967 Six-Day War. As part of the cease-fire deal reached between Israel and Syria then, a demarcation line, commonly known as the Purple Line, was drawn in the Golan as the de facto border between the two countries.
Following the 1973 Yom Kippur War, another cease-fire deal was signed, reaffirming the Purple Line's status. U.N. Security Council Resolution 350 created a buffer zone along the border, deploying the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force in the area.
Israel officially annexed the Golan Heights in 1981, but the international community has declined to recognize Israeli sovereignty there.
"Given the American move, it is time to take a step that will bolster Israel from a diplomatic and security standpoint – to recognize Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights," Katz told Israel Hayom on Sunday.
"The American move is perceived as one that could weaken Israel's position against Russia, Iran and Syria. Therefore, such recognition would convey the opposite message, about the strength of the alliance between the United States and Israel, and Israel's status in the region.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has broached the subject of U.S. recognition of Israeli sovereignty in the Golan Heights with Trump administration officials several times in the past, but so far the White House has not changed its position.
Last week, Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton drafted a motion stating that as Israel's national security depends upon its permanent control of the territory, the United States should recognize Israeli sovereignty there.
Ariel Kahana, Reuters and Israel Hayom Staff
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