EU rejects Netanyahu's comments on Golan

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini says that the body does not recognize Israeli sovereignty in the Golan Heights.

Ben Ariel ,

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini

The European Union (EU) on Tuesday joined in on the criticism of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s statement that the Golan Heights will remain under Israeli sovereignty.

Federica Mogherini, the EU foreign policy chief, reaffirmed that the body does not recognize Israeli sovereignty in the Golan Heights, according to the AFP news agency.

“The EU recognizes Israel within its pre-1967 boundaries, regardless of the [Israeli] government’s claims on other areas, until a final settlement is reached,” Mogherini said as she spoke before a Brussels-based meeting of international donors who convened to support of the Palestinian economy.

“This is a shared position reaffirmed by the European Union and its member states,” she stressed.

Netanyahu, during a cabinet meeting in the Golan on Sunday, declared that “the Golan Heights will always remain under Israeli control”, and called upon the international community to recognize Israel’s control of the territory.

The international community, however, was less than thrilled with the call, with State Department spokesperson John Kirby stressing that the United States does not consider the Golan Heights to be a part of Israel.

"The U.S. position on the issue is unchanged," Kirby told reporters during a daily briefing.

"This position was maintained by both Democratic and Republican administrations. Those territories are not part of Israel and the status of those territories should be determined through negotiations. The current situation in Syria does not allow this," he added.

Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi also denounced Netanyahu’s remarks, saying they were "a new escalation that represents a brazen violation of international law."

On Tuesday, Kuwait requested a meeting of the Arab League nations over Netanyahu's remarks, Al-Arabiya reported.

Following Netanyahu’s declaration, Syria quickly responded by condemning it and pledging to “take back the Golan” with the help of the United Nations.

Netanyahu did, however, receive the backing of Texas Senator and Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz.

“The government of Israel reiterated the reality that the Golan Heights are part of Israel’s sovereign territory,” Cruz said in a statement, adding, “Given the presence of hostile terrorist organizations ranging from ISIS to Hezbollah on Israel’s northern border, it is foolhardy and dangerous for elements in the international community to try to pressure Israel to abandon the Golan to the chaos engulfing Syria.”

“The path to peace cannot involve Israel’s abdication of its own security,” continued Cruz.

“I applaud Prime Minister Netanyahu’s courage in standing up for the safety of his people. America stands with you,” he concluded.