Thursday, March 14, 2019

The Israeli people were ‘with the Golan.’ They were right. - by Jonathan S. Tobin

Thankfully, past efforts to trade the Golan to Syria for “peace” failed. Israel is right to seek to foreclose the possibility of such a mistake in the future.

Jonathan S. Tobin..
13 March '19..

Sometimes, the best deals are the ones you don’t make.

This week’s news that Hezbollah is seeking to establish a cell in the Golan Heights from bases in Syria without the knowledge of the Bashar Assad regime illustrates the foolishness of Israel ever leaving the strategic plateau. It’s also a reminder of the close escape Israel had in the 1990s, when it vainly sought to trade land for peace with the current Damascus dictator’s equally tyrannical father Hafez Assad. And it is the memory of such past follies that is motivating both the Israeli government and some of its American friends to push for recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan.

For the first time this effort has met with at least a modicum of success when the U.S. State Department changed its description of the Heights from “Israeli-occupied” to “Israeli-controlled” in its annual global human-rights report released on Wednesday. This also comes after a visit to the Golan by U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), alongside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during the course of which he vowed to lobby U.S. President Donald Trump to formally recognize that it belonged to Israel.

Given that Trump has already scrapped a decades-old policy of not recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the possibility that the United States will do just that can’t be discounted. Few are foolish enough to suggest that Israel hand it over to Assad while his country is still wracked by a civil war and foreign armies still operate there with impunity. But the international community and the American foreign-policy establishment have not given up their insistence that the Golan will always be Syrian territory.

Why then push for U.S. recognition now?

(Continue to Full Column)

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