CLOUDS OVER a village on the Golan Heights.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
WASHINGTON – The State Department updated its manual to reflect President Donald Trump’s proclamation on the Golan Heights, and it now states that “US policy recognizes the Golan Heights as part of Israel. The Place of Birth for applicants born in the Golan Heights is Israel.” The previous version of the manual recognized the Golan as “Syrian territory,” according to a report by CNS News.
The policy toward the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem remains unchanged and recognizes these territories as “territories whose final status must be determined by negotiations.” Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt tweeted on Tuesday a picture of the updated map, with the Golan as a part of Israel.
A group of 10 Republican Senators sent a letter to the president Wednesday, urging the administration to take necessary steps to fully implement the proclamation, such as directing the State Department to treat the Golan Heights as the State of Israel’s sovereign territory to issue passports to Americans born there.
“The United States now recognizes the Golan Heights as sovereign Israeli soil,” said Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) in a statement. “Our official documents, maps, regulations, and international agreements ought to reflect that historic fact. We stand ready to help the president implement his decision, which strengthens Israel’s capacity for self-defense against enemies like Iran and the terrorist forces who want to destroy it.”
“Deepening Israel’s sovereignty and control over the Golan Heights is in America’s national security interest,” added Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas). “The president should be applauded for his decision to recognize the reality of that sovereignty, which he did over the objections of some in his administration who incorrectly predicted that it would cause unrest in the Middle East. Now it is imperative that all federal agencies implement the president’s decision, including by aligning the State Department’s Foreign Affairs Manual to reflect that it is United States policy that the Golan Heights is Israeli territory.”
Meanwhile, Syria failed to secure a majority within the UN Security Council to condemn Trump’s proclamation, Israeli officials told The Jerusalem Post. According to the officials, the Syrian delegation tried – with no success – to pass a resolution that would criticize the move right after the formal announcement.
Israel Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon told the Post that he is satisfied with the latest development.
“This is an important moment of clarity for the Security Council and the UN,” Danon said. “Too often, the Security Council doesn’t realize the consequences of these resolutions, but they came to see that giving the Golan to Syria would lead to increased violence and chaos in the region.”
On March 27, immediately after the presidential proclamation, the Syrian delegation urged the Security Council to discuss the American move. In a letter to the French mission to the UN as its capacity as president of the Security Council, the Syrian mission asked for an “urgent formal meeting of the Security Council in order 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.”
The following day, the Security Council held a heated discussion, during which Danon responded to the Syrian letter, saying Trump’s proclamation simply recognized the reality on the ground.
“To whom does the UN want to give the Golan: to Iranian fighters, to Shi’ite militias, to jihadist forces?” Danon said.
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