EU states unanimously rejected US President Trump’s recognition of Israel’s rule over the ‘occupied Golan Heights’; captured from Syria during the 1967 Six Day War, in 1981 Israel passed a law formally annexing the territory.
The European Union on Wednesday issued a statement declaring its “unanimous position” that the Golan Heights remains “occupied”, rejecting the United States’ proclamation recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the territory.
“The position of the European Union as regards the status of the Golan Heights has not changed,” the 28-member bloc said in a statement.
“In line with international law and UN Security Council resolutions 242 and 497, the European Union does not recognize Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights.”
US President Donald Trump broke with international consensus last week when he declared that it was “time for the United States to fully recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights” — territory seized from Syria during the 1967 Six Day War.
ידידי הנשיא טראמפ חתם על צו המכיר בריבונות ישראל ברמת הגולן. יום היסטורי למדינת ישראל!
My friend President Trump signed an order recognizing Israeli sovereignty in the Golan Heights. A historic day for Israel! pic.twitter.com/dVAadIDxTH
— Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) March 25, 2019
On Monday, Trump signed an order formally recognizing Israel’s rule over the strategic plateau in a move that was hailed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as “historic”, but resoundingly condemned by the international community.
Damascus immediately slammed the move as a “blatant attack on Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity” and requested that the United Nations Security Council hold an urgent meeting to discuss the policy shift
A number of EU nations independently rejected the move, including heavyweights France, Germany, and the United Kingdom.
Iran and its affiliate Hezbollah also issued synchronized yet separate statements condemning the decision slamming the move as both a violation of international law and an act of blatant “colonialism.”
The Golan Heights is a vital source of water in the arid region on the mountainous Israeli-Syrian frontier. It overlooks Galilee and Lake Tiberius on the Israeli side, which amounts to around 70 percent of the territory.
Syrian forces used the high ground of the Golan Heights to fire on Israeli forces during the 1967 war, prompting the Israeli army to enter it and seize 1,200 square kilometers (460 square miles) of the territory.
Israel occupied a further 510 square kilometers during the Yom Kippur War in 1973, but returned a year later in a deal which resulted in a demarcation line and a demilitarized buffer zone on the border monitored by a UN observer force.
In 1981, Israel passed a law formally annexing the Golan Heights territory it held.
Today, it is home to some 18,000 Druze Syrians — most of whom refuse to take Israeli citizenship — and around 20,000 Israelis spread over 33 mostly agriculture-based communities.
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