World unconvinced by Netanyahu's claim Golan will remain part of Israel

“The conditions under which those territories are ultimately returned should be decided through negotiations between the respective parties," said a State Department spokesman.

April 20, 2016 03:42
2 minute read.
Netanyahu IDF

Netanyahu visits IDF drill in Golan Heights. (photo credit: KOBI GIDEON/GPO)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


Washington issued a simple response to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent statement that the Golan Heights are an integral part of Israel and will remain so forever: “No, they are not.”

A day after the Israeli cabinet held its first-ever meeting Sunday on the Golan Heights and Netanyahu said the world needs to get used to the idea that the region would remain in Israel’s hands forever, State Department spokesman John Kirby said the US position on the Golan Heights is “longstanding and is unchanged. Every administration on both sides of the aisle since 1967 has maintained that those territories are not part of Israel.”

Kirby was asked about the issue by Al Quds‘s Washington correspondent, Said Arikat, who on a regular basis uses the daily State Department press briefing as a platform to ask provocative questions about Israel.

The State Department spokesman said, “The conditions under which those territories are ultimately returned should be decided through negotiations between the respective parties. And obviously, Said, the current situation in Syria makes it difficult to continue those efforts at this time.”

A few hours before Kirby’s response, Netanyahu told Israeli diplomatic reporters in a briefing on Monday that when he went to the Golan on Sunday he asked himself to whom Israel was expected to return the strategic plateau.

“To Islamic State?” he asked. “When the Syrians were there it was a platform for attacks against Israel. The time has come for the international community to internalize that the whole Golan will remain in Israeli hands.”

But it seems the international community will need a lot of convincing, because Netanyahu’s comments also elicited negative responses from other key actors on the world scene, such as the German Foreign Ministry and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Asked about the issue at the German Foreign Ministry briefing, spokesman Martin Schaefer said it is “a basic principle of international law and the UN charter that no state can claim the right to annex another state’s territory just like that.”

Ban, in a briefing at the UN Security Council on the Mideast, said he noted the statements made by Netanyahu.

“This is a longstanding issue that all parties have a responsibility to help resolve,” he said. “I remind Israel of its obligation to implement Security Council Resolutions 242 and 497 in all of their parts.”

UN Security Council Resolution 242, which was passed some six months after the Six Day War in 1967, called for a “withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict.”

And Security Council Resolution 497, adopted after Israel extended Israeli law to the Golan Height in 1981, declared that Jerusalem’s de facto annexation of the region “is null and void and without international legal effect.”

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

A nurse holds a vial of measles, mumps and rubella vaccine
February 18, 2019
The organization that helped vaccinate Mea She’arim against measles