In the Six Day War of June 1967, Israeli troops wrested control of the strategic Golan Heights from Syrian control. From the Golan, it is possible to see miles inside of Israel and, from artillery emplaced there, to shell Israeli towns. While the Sinai had been returned to Egyptian control and Jordan has relinquished claims on the West Bank as has Egypt on Gaza, the Golan has remained an uncertain factor in the overall quest for a final settlement of the status of Israel’s boundaries. Israel is reluctant to give up a chunk of critical real estate. Syria has refused to consider ceding ownership to Israel.
That all changed a little earlier today
After 52 years it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel’s Sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which is of critical strategic and security importance to the State of Israel and Regional Stability!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 21, 2019
.@SecPompeo: “Tonight President Trump made the decision to recognize…[the Golan Heights] is proper to be a sovereign part of the State of Israel. The people of Israel should know the battles they fought, the lives that they lost on that very ground, were worthy and meaningful.” pic.twitter.com/o7K3il7mKk
— Department of State (@StateDept) March 22, 2019
This is a correct and long overdue decision but it was met with the usual sniveling. Via the New York Times:
The announcement was the latest in a series of steps that have radically reshaped the United States’ role in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians — overwhelmingly to the benefit of Israel’s right-wing government.
The president cast his decision as being of “critical and strategic importance to the State of Israel.” Other administration officials and defenders of the policy, including Republican senators, said that Israel’s control of the Golan Heights was critical, with Hezbollah and other Iranian-backed militants threatening it from inside war-torn Syria.
Former diplomats said Mr. Trump’s action was unnecessary and would inflame an issue that had been largely dormant. They also said it would embolden other world leaders who seized territory in violation of international norms.
“Putin will use this as a pretext to justify Russia’s annexation of Crimea,” said Martin S. Indyk, a former peace negotiator and American ambassador to Israel. “The Israeli right will use it as a pretext for Israel’s annexation of the West Bank. It is a truly gratuitous move by Trump.”
Dennis B. Ross, another former Middle East negotiator, said the move would make it more difficult for Arab leaders to support the plan being drafted by Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner. The White House is expected to table the plan sometime after the Israeli election.
“If it looks like they’re acquiescing to the giving up of Arab land, that makes it harder for them to support a plan that will require other compromises,” Mr. Ross said. “If what you wanted to do was to present a plan that is likely to succeed, this is not a step you would take.”
There is as little doubt that the “Middle East experts” are as wrong about this as they’ve been about literally everything else in the region for 60 years. This same bunch has said for years that moving the US embassy to Jerusalem would set off some kind of regional conflagration. Instead, we found most everyone, including a great number of Palestinians, yawning. The reason that no one in the Arab world, outside of Syria, will care much about this is Iran. Syria has become an Iranian vassal state, Iranian militias operate there. Iranian revolutionary guards are stationed there and no one cares if Israel takes the Golan Heights.
Of course, there was the usual braying from people who weren’t involved in the decision that they weren’t involved in the decision. Of course, they went to McClatchy which will print just about anything critical of Trump.
— memeorandum (@memeorandum) March 21, 2019
According to the actual people involved, this was the result of an extensive interagency discussion.
Here's what you have to understand about people who say Trump's recognition of Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights was rushed or didn't go through interagency: they have no idea what they're talking about & are making it up as they go along.
By contrast –> https://t.co/JOM77BIkxk
— Omri Ceren (@omriceren) March 21, 2019
Gonna be weird to see the Orange Man Bad crowd insist that the Golan Heights be relinquished to the Assad regime in Syria. https://t.co/NncbwGCVTb
— Jordan Schachtel (@JordanSchachtel) March 21, 2019