Saudi Arabia joins Arab anger over ‘theft of occupied Golan Heights’

Thursday, 28 Mar, 2019

A statement affirmed "the Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemns, in the strongest terms, the decision of the US administration recognizing Israel's sovereignty over the occupied Golan".

Turkey's foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu blasted "some Arab countries" for their silence on President Trump's decision to recognize Israel's sovereignty over occupied Golan Heights, Anadolu Agency reports.

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah - here in February 2019 - said the USA president's decision on the Golan Heights "deals a knockout punch" to the peace process in the region.

The kingdom's Council of Ministers, which is chaired by King Salman, affirmed on Tuesday that it recognizes the Golan Heights as occupied Syrian Arab land, pointing to numerous worldwide resolutions, the Saudi Gazette reported.

In his comments, Nasrallah said Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital in 2017 paved the way for his decision on the Golan Heights.

Trump has failed to carry any of his allies in his policy U-turn, which he signed with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at his side. Israel seized the Golan Heights in the third Middle East war in 1967 and annexed it in the 1980s, but the global community never recognized the move.

The wording presaged Trump's Twitter declaration a week later that Washington should recognise Israeli sovereignty.

What guarantees Israel's position in the Golan Heights is a crushing superiority in military force, and the same is true of most other occupied territories around the world.

Fellow Gulf nations, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Kuwait, also expressed their regret regarding the decision on Tuesday, Saudi Arabia's Arab News reported.

Trump's decision "deals a knockout punch to what is called the peace process in the region, which is built on (the concept of) land in exchange for peace".

Lebanon said the move undermines any efforts to reach peace in the region.

U.S. allies Canada and Turkey also criticised Mr Trump's move. Many other countries view Israel's control over the region, which Israel gained in the 1967 Six-Day War, as illegal under worldwide law.

In its latest human rights report published on March 14, the United States referred to the Golan Heights as "Israeli-controlled" as opposed to "Israeli-occupied".

Meanwhile the United Nations said its position on the Golan is unchanged.

"Annexation of territory by force is prohibited under global law".

Israel captured the region from Syria in 1967 but its sovereignty over the territory is not recognized by the worldwide community. It had also demanded that Israel rescind its decision.