British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt
British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt Reuters

Britain’s Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt on Tuesday condemned US President Donald Trump’s recognition of the Golan Heights as sovereign Israeli territory, the Jewish News reports.

Answering questions in the House of Commons on Tuesday morning, Hunt did not shy in criticizing the Trump White House for breaking the international consensus for not recognizing sovereignty over land seized during war.

Hunt made British policy clear in response to a question from Conservative grandee Sir Nicholas Soames, who said it was “a matter of the greatest regret that our allies, the United States, are in clear contravention of UN Resolution 497.”

Soames said Trump’s recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan was illegal because “annexation of territory is prohibited under international law” and asked Hunt to “condemn unreservedly this breach of the rules-based order.”

Hunt said he was “absolutely happy to do that,” adding, “We should never recognize the annexation of territory by force… that has been one of the great achievements since the founding of the United Nations.”

The foreign secretary added that he condemned Trump’s actions “with a heavy heart” because Israel was also “an ally and a shining example of democracy in a part of the world where that is not common… We want Israel is to be a success and we consider them to be a great friend but on this we do not agree.”

Trump last week signed a proclamation recognizing Israeli sovereignty of the Golan Heights which was liberated by Israel from Syria during the 1967 Six Day War. Israel annexed the Golan Heights in 1981, in a move that has never been recognized by the international community.

As expected, the move was met with condemnation from the Arab world, with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait all saying that the Golan Heights is “occupied Arab land”.

Iran, which is the regional rival of all these states, joined in on the criticism as well.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani accused Trump of "colonialism" in the wake of the Golan move, saying, "Nobody could have believed that a man would come in America and unilaterally and against all international laws and regulations give away a land belonging to one country to an aggressor.”

Syria accused Trump of “blatantly attacking” its sovereignty with the decision and also vowed to recover the Golan Heights in the wake of Trump’s declaration.

The criticism was not limited to the Arab world, as the European Union blasted the move as well and said it regarded the Golan Heights as “occupied territory”.