The Israeli government held a unique session on Sunday, travelling by helicopter to the Golan Heights for a special meeting.

While the venue of the cabinet meeting was unusual it was perfectly suited for the Prime Minister’s message, which declared that Israel will never surrender the Golan Heights.

“I chose to hold this festive meeting in the Golan Heights in order to convey a clear message – the Golan Heights will always remain under Israeli control. Israel will never withdraw from the Golan Heights.”

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu explicitly directed his message to foreign observers, calling upon the world to recognize Israel’s control of the strategic territory.

“The time has come for the international community to recognize the reality, and two facts in particular. First, no matter what happens across the border, the [border] line itself will not change. Second, after 50 years the time has come for the international community to finally recognize that the Golan will always remain under Israeli sovereignty.”

Netanyahu suggested the time for considering a negotiated withdrawal from the territory was over, particularly given the ongoing Syrian civil war and breakdown of the Syrian state.

“It’s a question if Syria will ever go back to being what it once was. There are [many] different minority groups – Christians, Druze, Kurds – who have been fighting for their future and for their security. On the other side there are terror groups, in particular ISIS, Iran, and Hezbollah who want to establish the rule of radical Islam there, and from there the rest of the world.”

“I told the Secretary of State [John Kerry] that we would not oppose a political resolution in Syria [to the civil war] so long as it does not come at our expense. That is to say, at the end of the day Iranian forces, ISIS, and Hezbollah need to be removed from Syrian territory.”

Cabinet meeting on Golan
Cabinet meeting on Golan Amos Ben Gershom