Martin Indyk checks his phone at Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv January 6, 2014.
(photo credit: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/POOL VIA REUTERS)
Martin Indyk, the former United States special Middle East envoy under president Barak Obama, slammed a promise made by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Monday during a visit to the Golan Heights. Graham vowed to initiate a push for American recognition of Israeli control of the strategic site.
“Like it or not, the Golan Heights are Syrian territory,” Indyk said on Twitter. “To recognize Israel’s annexation of territory that is not its own is to play with fire.”
He further said that, at the moment, Israel can’t give up the Golan because it has “legitimate security concerns” - but even if the US would recognize Israeli sovereignty in the Golan, no other Arab state will follow.
Replying to a user who suggested Arab states already have their tacit approval of Israeli control during the Warsaw summit
, Indyk joked he’s willing to wage a ‘Yarden Mount Hermon wine’ that they did not.
The winery is located in the Golan Heights and is known for the quality of its various wines.
In response to a user who asked why Arab states don't control the territory for “legitimate Israeli security concerns,” Indyk said that five previous Israeli prime ministers offered to withdraw from the Golan in exchange for a Syrian-Israeli peace treaty.
“Syria is now in no position to make that deal,” he said, “which is why I said “for now.”
The country is currently in a state of turmoil due to a civil war which began in 2011.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, US Ambassador David Friedman and Graham toured the Golan Heights on Monday, leading the high-ranking GOP senator to vow he’ll “work with Senator [Ted] Cruz” to begin an American effort to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan, “now and forever.”
The Golan was won over by the IDF from Syria during the Six Day War in 1967. While Israel officially annexed the strategic territory overlooking the Sea of Galilee, the move remains contested.
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