In June, 1967, Syria, together with Egypt and Jordan, attacked Israel, and this became known as the Six- Day War. Israel captured the Sinai desert from Egypt, the West Bank from Jordan, and the Golan from Syria.
The Golan Heights is an elevated area in which Syria had built bunkers, and many Israeli civilians had been killed by Syrian sniper fire, making farming and fishing very difficult. Israel had been willing to return the land to Syria in exchange for peace, but Syria rejected this offer. The Golan was transferred to Israeli sovereignty by the Israeli parliament in 1981.
Every year, the U.N. votes to condemn Israel for its control of the Golan. And every year, the U.S. abstains.
The United States opposed on Friday for the first time an annual draft resolution at the United Nations calling on Israel to rescind its authority over the occupied Golan Heights, drawing praise from Israeli officials.
The Golan Heights form a buffer between Israel and Syria of about 1,200 square km (460 square miles). Israel captured most of it from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war. It annexed the territory in 1981, a move not recognized internationally.
The United States has abstained in previous years on the “Occupied Syrian Golan” resolution, which declares Israel’s decision to impose its jurisdiction in the area “null and void,” but US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said on Thursday that Washington would vote against the resolution.
“The United States will no longer abstain when the United Nations engages in its useless annual vote on the Golan Heights,” she said in a statement….
Israeli officials praised the US move.
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan called it “extremely important,” saying on Twitter that “no sane person can believe that it (the Golan) should be given to Assad & Iran.”
Tehran has supported Assad during the civil war and Israel has been warning against Iranian military entrenchment in Syria.
Israel has closely monitored the fighting in Syria, where just across the Golan frontier battles have raged in clear view.
The US will no longer abstain when the UN engages in its useless annual vote on the Golan Heights. The resolution is plainly biased against Israel; on Friday, we will vote no.
— US Mission to the UN (@USUN) November 15, 2018
Holding geographical barriers and high ground is essential when your neighbors are hostile. History overwhelmingly justifies Israel maintaining control of this territory. I imagine it could be relinquished as a completely demilitarized zone, ready to be reoccupied immediately the first time a Syrian carries a pop gun into the zone. Fat chance of Syria ever agreeing to anything like that. By the way, same logic applies to portions of the West Bank; Israel’s final borders need to be geographically defensible as much as is geographically possible. The series of wars against Israel makes this pretty obvious to anyone with eyes open.
It’s about dang time! I didn’t even realize that we had been taking the wimpy way out every year on such a vote & abstaining. The US needs to LEAD, and doing something like this – we can hope – might influence other nations to think critically on votes of this sort & likewise do the right thing. Someone has to stand up. Glad we did so.