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22 Mar, 2019 19:26

Reaching for political heights? Trump's statement on Golan sparks int'l uproar

Reaching for political heights? Trump's statement on Golan sparks int'l uproar

US President Donald Trump’s idea to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights has sent shock waves throughout the world as nations in the Middle East and beyond slammed it as contrary to international law.

Trump has once again rocked the world with yet another demonstratively pro-Israeli stunt as he said it was time for the US to officially recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the disputed Golan Heights. While Tel Aviv rejoiced at the news, the international community was definitely not amused as nations around the world, including America’s close allies, rushed to condemn the idea.

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‘Completely beyond international law’

Trump’s suggestion has infuriated the Muslim world. Syria, which is recognized as the rightful owner of the Golan Heights under international law, condemned what it called an “irresponsible” statement, which shows Washington’s blatant bias towards the Israeli occupation and its “contempt” for international law.

Iran said that Trump’s “rash” decisions once again only demonstrate that US policies pose a danger to the entire world as they push the already “volatile” Middle East towards “successive crises.” The Arab League denounced Trump’s statement as well by saying it was “completely beyond international law.”

US NATO ally, Turkey, which has some tensions with Washington over its arms imports, also joined the chorus of critics as its president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said that the legitimization of the occupation of the Golan Heights cannot be allowed.

Egypt earlier also rejected Trump’s call by saying that it still sees the Golan as Syrian land. Notably, the only major regional power to stay silent on this occasion was the US’ closer ally – Saudi Arabia – which has not yet issued any explicit statement in the wake of Trump’s call.

‘Contrary to the Middle East peacemaking process’

Following the US president’s statement, Russia warned that such calls could further destabilize an already tense situation in the Middle East. “This very idea is by no means conducive to the aims and goal of the Middle East peacemaking process,” the Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists. “It is more like the opposite is the case.”

The Russian president’s spokesman said that Trump’s statement has so far been just an informal call and expressed his hope that it would stay this way. Earlier, a Russian senator, Oleg Morozov, said that Moscow would never support the recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

‘Null & void’

The US’ Western allies were just as reluctant to support Trump in this case while stressing the importance of abiding by international law. The EU, as well as France and Germany, all said that their position on the matter stays unchanged regardless of any statements made by the US president as they would prefer to stick to the international norms.

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An EU spokeswoman said that the bloc does not recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the territories occupied by Israel since June 1967. The French foreign ministry noted that Israel’s claims for sovereignty over the Golan have been “recognized as null and void” by several UN Security Council’s resolutions.

Berlin said it rejected any unilateral steps, adding that the Golan Heights are still universally recognized as an occupied territory of Syria. “This is still a status quo under the international law,” the German Foreign Ministry’s deputy spokeswoman, Ulrike Demmer, said

‘Regional security’?

However, even in the face of massive international backlash, Trump seems to be quite persistent in his plan to push his idea through. On Friday, he told Fox Business he had “been thinking about doing it for a long time,” adding that it was “very much like … moving the embassy to Jerusalem.”

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“I did it. It has been done and it’s fine,” he said, referring to the moving of the US embassy to Jerusalem, which also sent shock waves through the world at that time and sparked massive protests in the Middle East. He claimed that the Golan Heights “are the same thing.”

Trump maintained that it is supposedly all “about regional security” while denying that his call has anything to do with the forthcoming Israeli elections, which he claimed he “had no idea” about.

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