German Chancellor Angela Merkel
German Chancellor Angela Merkel Flash 90

Germany rejected on Monday a call by the Israeli government to recognize Israel’s control of the Golan Heights, calling the move a violation of international law and the United Nations Charter.

On Sunday the Israeli cabinet held a special meeting on the Golan Heights. Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu opened the meeting with a declaration that “the Golan Heights will always remain under Israeli control."

Netanyahu also called upon the international community to recognize Israel’s control of the territory.

The Golan Heights were captured by Israel during the 1967 Six Day War and annexed in 1981. The annexation was widely condemned by the international community. The United Nations Security Council formally rejected the annexation as invalid.

Syria quickly responded, condemning the declaration and pledging to “take back the Golan” with the help of the United Nations.

The German Foreign Ministry responded to Netanyahu’s call for recognition on Monday, saying that any unilateral moves to change the status of the Golan Heights were in violation of international law.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer suggested that Israel lacked the legal basis for annexation, saying that “it’s a basic principle of international law and the UN Charter that no state can claim the right to annex another state’s territory just like that.”

Schaefer also noted, however, that Germany does not expect Israel to surrender the Golan to Syria, given the security situation and ongoing Syrian civil war.

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