A GENERAL VIEW of Majdal Shams in the Golan Heights near the border with Syria.
(photo credit: REUTERS/AMMAR AWAD)
During the events in Gaza and the storming election race, the US president’s declaration to recognize Israel sovereignty in the Golan Heights, has been seen as an election contribution to his friend, Benjamin Netanyahu.
This interpretation does injustice to this historical act.
This is a tremendous strategic achievement for the State of Israel, which is not less important, and in some respects even more important than the US decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem. Moving the embassy to Jerusalem is a more symbolic act which attests the deep ties between Israel and the US.
It supports the battle of consciousness over the establishment of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and helps to legitimize similar acts of other states. The American declaration on the Golan Heights in the other hand has a lot of more than only symbolic significance, and above all, it is an act with a dramatic contribution to Israel's national security.
Today, after Syria disintegrated during its civil war and its reemergence in the last year, the importance of the Golan Heights has become even more important because of the deep involvement of Iran and Hezbollah
Secondly, there is in the American declaration, a form of compensation for the crack created in the inter-regional equation of the area, in consequence to the US declaration of its intention to end its military presence on the Syrian front.
Russia, who took “ownership” in the area, has low interest to keep Israel's national security interests. Trump’s declaration on the Golan Heights signals to the Russians to not push Israel into corner. It embodied, in fact, a warning that the US is still here, even if it is not physically present, and that a lack of consideration of the Israeli interest might have a price to be paid by Russia's allies.
Beyond the security and political considerations, the American declaration does historical justice to the population of the wonderful pioneering settlers of the Golan Heights. A population which devoted its life and future into flowering the once black heights and turning it into green. A population that has created, among other things, a wine and meat industry on an international level - one that competes successfully in Europe and the United States. The American declaration now helps to remove the grey cloud that has always hovered over their life's work.
The declaration also glorifies the memory of the IDF soldiers who fell during the occupation of the Golan Heights during the Six-Day War and the soldiers who bravely defended Israel from the Syrian attack during the Yom Kippur War, and then turned the tables and gave the enemy a defeat.
Finally, even during the intense ideological divisiveness in Israeli society, it seems that on the on subject of the Golan Heights there is almost wall-to-wall consensus on the importance and necessity of its presence for Israel's national security. The American declaration is, therefore, a historic move of dramatic importance and a brave statement, which constitutes a significant peak in the relations between the two countries.
There is no doubt the reemerging Syria, will resume an international battle aimed at preserving the narrative of the Golan Heights as occupied Syrian territory while denying the legitimacy of Israeli annexation and sovereignty. In the face of this, Israel will be required to conduct a complicated legitimization battle, while increasing its effort to prevent an Iranian establishment on the other side of the Golan Heights. The American declaration with no doubt will help to manage those efforts.Israel Ziv, served as a general in the Israeli army, and was the head of the Operations Directorate in his last job.
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