Syria blasts Senator Graham over comment on Golan

Syrian government condemns senior Republican senator who said Golan Heights should remain "forever" under the control of Israel.

Elad Benari,

Lindsey Graham, PM Netanyahu and Ambassador Friedman visit the Golan
Lindsey Graham, PM Netanyahu and Ambassador Friedman visit the Golan
Amos Ben Gershom/GPO

The Syrian government on Tuesday condemned a statement by US senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) who said that the Golan Heights should remain "forever" under the control of Israel, AFP reports.

Graham, a Washington ally of President Donald Trump and a strong backer of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, toured the Golan Heights with Netanyahu on Monday.

He said the idea of the strategic plateau going to any party other than Israel was "off the table", vowing to work to have the United States recognize the Golan as part of Israel "now and forever".

A Syrian foreign ministry source on Tuesday condemned Graham's statement, saying it reflected Washington's bias in favor of Israel, state news agency SANA said.

Graham’s remarks demonstrated "the arrogance of the US administration and how it views regional issues with Zionist eyes and with the interests of Israel" in mind, the source claimed.

"The Syrian people... are more resolute and determined to continue their struggle until the occupied Golan is fully liberated," added the Syrian source.

Israel captured most of the Golan Heights from Syria during the June 1967 Six Day War. While Israel ceded a portion of the Golan Heights as part of a separate of forces agreement with Syria following the 1973 Yom Kippur War, the Jewish state has retained roughly two-thirds of the Heights.

In 1981, the Menachem Begin government applied Israeli sovereignty over the Golan – a move not internationally recognized, including by the US.

Netanyahu recently asked the United States to recognize Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Netanyahu’s request came during a meeting with US National Security Adviser, John Bolton.

US ambassador to Israel David Friedman told the Israel Hayom newspaper in September of 2018 that he expected the Golan Heights to remain under Israeli control "forever," and mentioned the possibility of US official recognition of the Golan as Israeli territory.

However, Bolton said a month earlier that there were no US plans for such recognition.

In November, the United States voted for the first time against an annual UN resolution condemning Israel's “occupation” of the Golan.

In addition, US Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) introduced a resolution expressing the sense of the Senate that the United States should recognize Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights.




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