World condemns move | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 23, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, March 23, 2019

TRUMP'S POLICY SHIFT ON GOLAN HEIGHTS

World condemns move

The Syrian government vowed to take back the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights as its allies and enemies alike condemned US President Donald Trump yesterday for moving to recognise Israeli sovereignty over the territory seized in war.

Trump's statement on Thursday marked a dramatic shift in US policy over the status of a disputed area that Israel captured from Syria in the 1967 Middle East conflict and annexed in 1981 - a move not recognized internationally.

Trump's declaration is the latest US step to fuel anger in the region, both in states that are hostile to Israel and others that have relations with it and are allied to the United States. It follows the US recognition in December 2017 of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Russia, an ally of President Bashar al-Assad with forces in Syria, said Trump's comments risked seriously destabilising the region, and it voiced hope the statement was just declaratory.

Iran, Assad's main regional ally and which also has forces in Syria, condemned the statement as illegal and unacceptable.

Turkey, a US ally and an adversary of Damascus, also said the move had brought the Middle East to the edge of a new crisis and the legitimisation of the occupation of the Golan Heights could not be allowed.

The European Union said its position on the status of the Golan Heights was unchanged and it did not recognise Israeli sovereignty over the area.

Germany said any change in borders should be "done through peaceful means between all those involved", while France said it did not recognise the Israeli annexation of the Golan Heights and any recognition was contrary to international law.

The Arab League, which suspended Syria in 2011 after the start of its civil war, said Trump had paved "the way for official American recognition" of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan and called this "completely beyond international law".

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