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26 Mar, 2019 05:07

Washington's ally Saudi Arabia rejects Trump’s Golan Heights resolution

Washington's ally Saudi Arabia rejects Trump’s Golan Heights resolution

Saudi Arabia has joined the chorus of nations rejecting US President Donald Trump’s decision to unilaterally recognize the Golan Heights as Israeli, rather than Syrian, territory, calling it a violation of international law.

Calling on “all parties” to respect the United Nations charter, international law, and several UN resolutions calling for Israel to withdraw from the territories it occupied in 1967, Saudi Parliament Speaker Mishaal bin Fahm al-Salami flatly opposed Trump’s resolution, reaffirming Riyadh’s “principled position” that the Golan Heights is Syrian land.

Also on rt.com Reaching for political heights? Trump's statement on Golan sparks int'l uproar

While the relationship between Saudi Arabia and Israel has warmed in recent years, the Saudis might have noticed the withering international disapproval that met Trump’s declaration of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan.

International law recognizes Syria as the rightful owner of the land, and multiple UN resolutions have called for Israel to return the territory they’ve occupied for over half a century, but with oil recently discovered in the Golan, it is unlikely that Israel – or the US interests that have staked their claim to that oil – will be leaving anytime soon.

Ali Rizk, a Middle East analyst, told RT he doesn’t believe there is something behind Trump’s recognition of Golan Heights other than winning sympathies of Israel and its US lobby.

“I don’t think the US gains anything from this step other than the fact that Trump is trying to show himself as the biggest supporter of Israel out of all American presidents,” he opined.

In the meantime, Saudi Arabia, which sides with the US in countering Iran’s influence across the Middle East, “can’t go too far” in openly supporting American policies. King Salman presents itself as a custodian and defender of the Arab cause, and open backing of the US “would be too costly.”

Also on rt.com ‘Attack on sovereignty & territorial integrity’ – Syria reacts to Trump’s Golan Heights move

Independent analyst Alessandro Bruno agreed, saying that, despite the fact that Saudi Arabia had “supported the war against Assad... they did not support splitting Syria up in different pieces and giving the Golan to Israel.”

He went on to stress that it would be “political suicide” for the Saudis to recognize the region as belonging to Israel, as they would be giving up on the “main narrative of the post World War II Middle East,” which implies Arab territorial integrity.

Syria has denounced Trump’s statement as a “flagrant attack” on its sovereignty, as well as a “slap in the face” to the international community that upholds the legal recognition of the Golan as Syrian land.

Israel annexed the Golan Heights in 1981, leading the UN to officially nullify the move – a decision the US had respected, along with the rest of the world, until Monday.

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