Photo Credit: Haim Zach/GPO
PM Benjamin Netanyahu checks out some cows on Israel's Golan Heights. June 6, 2017

Any unilateral change in the status of the Golan Heights would be a direct violation of UN Security Council resolutions, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told journalists in Moscow, Wednesday, in an apparent rebuke to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

“The status of the Golan Heights is determined by the resolutions of the UN Security Council. Changing this status bypassing the Security Council, from my perspective, would be a direct violation of these resolutions,” Lavrov said according to the Sputnik news agency.

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Sputnik said Lavrov’s comments had come in the context of remarks made on Monday by Netanyahu during the dedication of a synagogue at the Ein Keshatot archaeological site on the Golan Heights.

“Israel on the Golan Heights is a guarantee for stability in the surrounding area,” he said. “Israel on the Golan Heights is a solid reality based on ancient rights. Israel on the Golan Heights is a fact that the international community must recognize and as long as it depends on me the Golan Heights will always remain under Israeli sovereignty because otherwise we would have Iran and Hezbollah on the shores of the Kinneret.”

The prime minister added that Russian President Vladimir Putin understands his commitment to Israel’s security and “the importance that I ascribe to the Golan Heights, that we all ascribe to the Golan Heights and to the heritage of Israel.”

Tensions between Israel and Russia have surfaced following the September 17 incident in which a Russian intelligence plane carrying 15 military personnel on board was shot down by Syrian air defense missiles during an Israeli strike on an Iranian munitions transfer to Hezbollah in northern Syria.

Following the incident, Russia said Israel was responsible as it had used the intelligence plane as a decoy.

Earlier this week, Netanyahu said he had spoken to Putin and the two would meet in the near future.

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