Wants Recognition of Israeli Sovereignty over Golan Heights
By Adam Kredo
July 16, 2018
Congress is renewing efforts to press the Trump administration into
recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the contested Golan Heights region on
Israel's northern border with Syria, bucking efforts by GOP leadership to kill
the effort, according to conversations with lawmakers.
National Security Subcommittee, led by chairman Rep. Ron DeSantis (R., Fla.)
will hold a hearing Tuesday to examine how recognizing Israel's sovereignty over
the territory could bolster U.S. national security efforts to stem the flow of
terrorists in the Jewish state and elsewhere in the region by giving the Jewish
state unilateral control over the Syrian territory, where Iranian-backed
fighters and other jihadists have been spotted since the start of a bloody civil
The push to
have the Trump administration formally recognize Israel's sovereignty over the
territory comes following a Monday afternoon press conference between President
Donald Trump and Russian President Vladamir Putin, where the two leaders
discussed efforts to decrease tension in Syria.
had won support from Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) and others.
expressed disappointment at the time in comments to the Free Beacon.
know why my Golan Heights amendment was not made in order and thus denied a
vote," DeSantis said. "It was a germane amendment that would have
provided the House with a chance to add clarity to the broader U.S. policy
vis-a-vis Syria. How could we even contemplate supporting anything other
than the application of Israeli sovereignty to such a strategically significant
area, especially given the plethora of malevolent forces that undermine security
in the region?"
will chair Tuesday's hearing, told the Washington Free Beacon he will not stand down
despite opposition by some to formally recognizing Israeli control over the
territory, which Israel annexed in 1981.
recognition of the Golan Heights is overdue and I hope this hearing demonstrates
that the time is right for the Trump administration to do so," DeSantis
told the Free
Beacon. "As we've seen with the successful relocation of
our American embassy to Jerusalem, when the U.S. leads with purpose and
conviction good things happen."
States has declined for decades to take a position on the status of this
territory, but lawmakers such as DeSantis argue the time is right for this
effort, particularly in light of the chaos in Syria and the threat it poses to
Israeli and U.S. security assets in the region.
officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have supported such
efforts and also have requested the Trump administration move to recognize
Israeli sovereignty over the territory. Public calls for the recognition
increased after the Free Beacon first reported on the now-dead
congressional resolution on the matter.
hearing will focus on Iran's destabilizing efforts in Syria and how it has
impacted regional security, according to information viewed by the Free
officials and other supporters argue that U.S. recognition of Israeli control of
the Golan Heights could thwart Russia and Iran's growing influence in Syria and
also send a powerful message that the United States sides with the Jewish
state's security interests as regional tensions grow.
States, under numerous governments, has assured the Israeli government that it
supports Israel's annexation of the territory, but has declined to go as far as
backing a full recognition of sovereignty. The area remains a key territory that
could help Israel defend itself from attacks by Iranian forces and others
operating in Syria, supporters argue.
militants who are still operating freely in Syria as they defend embattled
President Bashar al-Assad have used the Golan Heights and areas near it to
for instance, Israel intercepted an armed Iranian drone that had entered its
airspace via Syria.
Iranian forces in Syria fired at least 20 rockets at Israeli military personnel
stationed in the Golan Heights, leading the Trump White House to issue public
statements supporting Israel's right to self-defense in the face of such
Witnesses testifying at the Tuesday hearing include Dore Gold, a veteran Israeli official who most recently served as director general of Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 2015 to 2016; Michael Doran, a former senior director of the White House's the National Security Council during the George W. Bush administration; Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America; and Eugene Kontorovich, a Northwestern University professor of law who has studied Israel's legal claims to the Golan Heights.