The United States has become the subject of a new round of furor by world countries over its controversial decision to recognize Israeli “sovereignty” over the part of Syria’s Golan Heights that has been occupied by the Tel Aviv regime.
US President Donald Trump signed a decree recognizing Israeli “sovereignty” over the occupied Golan at the start of a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington on Monday.
Iran, Turkey, Lebanon, Russia, and some European Union (EU) states were quick to reject Trump’s move, which is in obvious contravention of international law.
Iran: Move was very dangerous
In a telephone conversation with Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi on Tuesday, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani underlined the need for “closer cooperation between regional countries” given Tel Aviv’s “excessive demands” and Washington’s “incorrect decisions.”
“Worrisome remarks about the violation of the Palestinian and Syrian nations’ rights, particularly regarding the Golan Heights, are very dangerous and alarming for the region’s security,” President Rouhani said. “I hope that boosting regional cooperation would create a situation devoid of new tensions and instability in the region.”
Also addressing his cabinet members earlier in the day, Rouhani denounced Trump’s announcement, and said even though colonial powers had in the past carried out similar moves, “one man unilaterally granting a piece of land belonging to a certain nation to a usurper” was unheard of in contemporary times.
Lebanon: This undermines all foundations of int’l law
Meanwhile, Lebanese President Michel Aoun said that the new US stance on Golan fueled concerns in regional countries and undermined international law.
“Unfortunately, news has come today that the US recognized the Golan Heights as part of Israel. Of course, this undermines all foundations and rules of the United Nations, [and] international law, since the establishment of that organization,” President Aoun said in a meeting with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, in Moscow on Tuesday.
“Certainly, this is a matter of major concern, triggering specific concerns in those countries that are situated in direct vicinity of Israel,” he added.
Russia: Is this the prelude to ‘the deal of the century?!’
Furthermore, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that the recognition of occupied Golan may just serve as the prelude to Trump’s yet-to-be-unveiled proposal on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — which she called “the surprise in store for all of us.”
“We are only beginning to get the reaction of the European Union that is somewhat shocked by what their NATO partners are doing with international law and directly in the region, as we have not yet started discussing the main surprise, ‘the Deal of the Century’ that Washington promises. Maybe this is a forerunner of the surprise in store for all of us,” Zakharova told Rossia-1 TV channel.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov also warned of the “negative repercussions” of Trump’s move.
“The latest US step regarding the occupied Golan is a flagrant violation of international laws and the… Security Council’s resolutions, and it is clear that such a decision will have negative repercussions with regard to the political settlement in the Middle East and on the public mood of the political settlement in Syria,” he said.
EU states: We do not recognize Israel’s sovereignty over occupied Golan
Separately, Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, and Poland — five EU countries that sit on the UN Security Council — stressed that the European position on Golan had not changed.
“We do not recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the territories occupied by Israel since June 1967, including the Golan Heights, and we do not consider them to be part of the territory of the state of Israel,” Belgian Ambassador to the UN Marc Pesteen de Buytswerve said on Tuesday, as the envoys of the four other European countries stood beside him.
“We raise our strong concerns about broader consequences of recognizing illegal annexation and also about the broader regional consequences,” he added.
The expressions of rejection are not entirely new. World countries have already slammed the US over its decision.
Syria demands UNSC meeting
In a related development on Tuesday, Syria asked the UN Security Council to hold an urgent meeting on the US decision.
In a letter seen by AFP, the Syrian mission to the UN urged the Council’s presidency to schedule a session to “discuss the situation in the occupied Syrian Golan and the recent flagrant violation of the relevant Security Council’s resolution by a permanent member-state.”
In 1967, Israel waged a full-scale war against Arab territories during which it occupied a large swathe of Syria’s Golan and annexed it four years later, a move never recognized by the international community.
Syria has repeatedly reaffirmed its sovereignty over the Golan Heights, saying the territory must be completely restored to its control.