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June 28, 2016 / 22 Sivan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Golan’

Hypocrisy On The Golan Heights

Sunday, May 22nd, 2016

Fifteen countries illegally occupying other countries’ territories have denounced Israel for refusing to surrender the Golan Heights. It’s hard to know whether to laugh or cry – or perhaps just turn the page.

The current president of the United Nations Security Council, Chinese ambassador Liu Jieyi, recently chaired a closed meeting of the 15 council members and announced afterward that they share a “deep concern” about Israel’s position that it will not retreat from the Golan. They insisted that Israel’s presence on the Golan is illegal.

Ambassador Jieyi represents a Chinese regime that has been illegally occupying Tibet since 1950. China also illegally occupies various islands in the South China Sea, including the Paracel Islands, which it seized from Vietnam in 1974, and the Scarborough Shoal, from which it has blocked Phillippine forces since 2012.Medoff-052016

Who are the other Security Council members who are so “concerned” about Israel controlling the Golan?

Among the permanent members of the Council, there’s Russia, which occupied a large portion of Ukraine just two years ago. There’s France, which occupies assorted islands in the Indian Ocean (near Madagascar) and Antarctica. And there’s Great Britain, which occupies a long list of small territories around the world, of which the Falkland Islands are the best known because of Argentina’s unsuccessful 1982 attempt to oust the islands’ British occupiers.

Among the non-permanent current members of the UN Security Council angry at Israel there’s Spain, which occupies the Canary Islands (near Morocco), as well as the cities of Ceuta and Melilla and seven other enclaves on Africa’s northern coast.

There’s Angola, which since 1975 has been occupying the territory of Cabinda. Somebody should ask the spokesmen for the Front for the Liberation of the Cabinda Enclave and the Republic of Cabinda Government in Exile what they think about Angola’s concern regarding the Golan.

Don’t forget Malaysia, which occupies North Borneo, a territory the Philippines claim as its own. Not to mention Venezuela, which occupies Ankoko Island against the wishes of neighboring Guyana. Or Japan, which occupies the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, despite the protests of Taiwan and Communist China. Or Egypt, which occupies the Elba Mountains and the Hala’ib Triangle, territories that are claimed by Sudan.

The only Security Council member that tried to inject even a modicum of reason into the Golan Heights discussion was the United States. Although State Department spokesman John Kirby reiterated the standard U.S. opposition to Israeli administration of the Golan, he at least he acknowledged that “the current situation in Syria makes it difficult [to change the status of the Golan] at this time.”

That, perhaps, is the most important point to be made in this discussion. If Israel were to do as the UN Security Council is demanding, the Golan Heights would be in the control of the genocidal Assad regime or the equally genocidal forces of ISIS.

Anyone who does not appreciate what that would mean for Israel should read Hugh Nissenson’s classic Notes from the Frontier, a poignant chronicle of the months he spent on a kibbutz near the Syrian border in 1965 – that is, when the Golan was in Syria’s hands.

“The Syrian mountains [of the Golan] are about a thousand feet above us, and their fortifications on the slopes completely dominate our settlements,” a kibbutznik explained to Nissenson shortly after his arrival. “They shell us anytime they like, and there’s nothing we can do about it…”

Keeping in mind that Assad and ISIS possess weapons far more dangerous than those of 1965, it’s hardly surprising that Israelis are not anxious to return to the days of being attacked “anytime they like” and being unable to do anything about it.

Today there is something Israelis can do about it. They can stay right where they are and ignore the occupiers who hypocritically complain about others’ occupations.

Dr. Rafael Medoff

The Case for Israeli Sovereignty in the Golan Heights

Monday, May 16th, 2016

{Written by British-Israeli political commentator and writer Eylon Aslan-Levy. Originally posted to The Tower Magazine website}

The Golan Heights are back in the news, with concerns that a great power deal on Syria’s future might include renewed demands on Israel to return the territory to the embattled regime of Bashar al-Assad. The Israeli cabinet was helicoptered to the mountain ridge on April 17 for a special session, in which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that he wished to “to send a clear message [to the world, that] Israel will never come down from the Golan Heights.”

Netanyahu was right to make such a statement. Whatever the political future of Syria, Middle East regional security requires international recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Moreover, as the war-weary great powers seek a comprehensive settlement in Syria, they have a unique political and legal opportunity to do so.

With the rise of terrorism and the collapse of much of the Middle East into near-anarchy, the world is entering uncharted waters in which the normal rules of statecraft and international law offer no clear answers. The international community, therefore, has an opportunity to reinforce a troubled international order by recognizing the border between Syria and Israel east of the Golan Heights. It is vital that the international community conclusively end the ambiguity over the Golan’s fate in order to help stabilize the region in the decades ahead.
The Golan Heights is a strategic ridge abutting the Sea of Galilee. Israel captured the territory in the 1967 Six-Day War when it repelled an invasion by the Syrian army. Rejecting Israel’s surprise offer at the war’s end to return the Heights in exchange for peace, Syria launched a failed but bloody bid to recapture the Heights in the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Israel formally annexed the Golan on December 14, 1981. Three days later, the United Nations Security Council unanimously declared the annexation null and void in Resolution 497, demanding that Israel rescind its decision. Responding to Netanyahu, the Security Council confirmed in April that its resolution still stands.

To date, even Israel’s allies remain unconvinced of its claims to the Golan. The day after Netanyahu vowed that the Heights would “forever remain under Israeli sovereignty,” the U.S. and Germany reaffirmed their position that the Golan is not under Israeli sovereignty in the first place. The U.S. State Department confirmed that it expects the fate of the Heights to be determined via negotiations—although by acknowledging that “the current situation in Syria does not allow this,” spokesman John Kirby implicitly legitimized Israel’s continued hold over the territory pending Syria’s reconstitution.

No serious observer, however, believes that Syria can be reconstituted. The Kurds declared an autonomous Federation of Northern Syria (Rojava) in March 2016, and will not surrender this freedom lightly. The Syrian opposition is against a formal partition of Syria, but the option of transforming the country into a federal state is on the table. If the country’s five-year-long civil war continues, interest in partition will likely grow, either as a last resort or recognition of an existing reality. The logical corollary of ceasefire efforts is that a de facto partition will begin to crystallize, as none of the warning parties will agree to govern together or be governed by each other. “We know how to make an omelet from an egg,” observed Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, but “I don’t know how to make an egg from an omelet.”

Any geopolitical settlement that involves redrawing Syria’s borders for the sake of regional security must also rubber-stamp Israel’s control of the Golan for the same purpose. The Heights have now been governed by Jerusalem for over twice as long as Damascus—49 years versus 22. It is time to recognize that change as permanent.
Broadly speaking, there are four key ways in which a state can cease to exist under international law. First, a state can splinter through a series of secessions, leaving behind a rump state that inherits its predecessor’s legal personality. For example, Russia is the recognized legal continuation of the USSR. Second, a state can be ripped apart by internal strife to such an extent that it is deemed to have ceased to exist and no single successor inherits its legal personality. Yugoslavia is an example of this. Third, a state can dissolve itself by agreement. Czechoslovakia, for instance, voted to divide itself out of existence. Fourth, a state can voluntarily merge or be absorbed into another state, as when East Germany dissolved itself when it was united with West Germany.

Syria could plausibly collapse along the lines of the first two possibilities: Secessions could leave a diminished core limping on like post-Soviet Russia; or the secessions could be of such magnitude that the world concludes Syria has ceased to exist, rejecting the claim that a rump Assad-governed enclave is the rightful continuation of Syria. But whatever happens, there will only be a stable border between these entities and Israel if the latter retains permanent control of the Golan Heights.

The current military situation in Syria.

The current military situation in Syria.

This Soviet-style scenario could play out as follows: Syria could experience a series of secessions, beginning with ISIS and the Kurds and extending to other rebel groups. If Damascus accedes to these secessions, betting on the survival of Assad’s Alawite minority in a smaller state, the new states’ independence would be universally recognized. In turn, the world could recognize the rump Syria as the legal successor of the old entity, including its continued claim over the Golan Heights. Indeed, the Vienna Convention on State Successions in Respect of Treaties is explicit in stating that “a succession of states as such does not affect a boundary established by treaty,” i.e., the legal instruments that created modern Syria.

Nevertheless, the promotion of new borders for the sake of regional security provides a golden opportunity to take other factors into account.

First, the Golan is vital to Israel’s security: Israel cannot risk the presence of a powerful army or jihadist guerillas along the eastern shores of the Sea of Galilee. This means that Israeli possession of the Golan is vital for regional security, because a war in which the Golan is used against Israel would have regional ramifications. Considering Hezbollah’s heavy involvement in the Syrian war, anything that allows the Iranian proxy to threaten Israeli territory increases the prospects and potential scope of a regional war in which Israel will use force that many will undoubtedly condemn as disproportionate in order to eliminate the threat of incessant rocket attacks on a vulnerable population. Indeed, it appears that Iran is formulating a Plan B for Syria that involves leaving a Hezbollah-style force on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights for the day after Syria ceases to be unitary state. Jerusalem needs to control the Heights in order to minimize this threat.

Second, the question of the Golan’s fate needs to be settled in order to prevent future instability. Whatever entities arise east of the Golan need to know that they have no chance of reaching the Sea of Galilee if war is to be prevented. Hezbollah and Iran are likely to invoke Israel’s presence on the Heights as an excuse for further aggression, so the world needs to resolve in advance that it will categorically reject such arguments and treat the Golan border as inviolable.

Third, the residents of the Golan wish to remain part of Israel. Increasing numbers of Golan Druze are taking Israeli citizenship. If other parts of Syria are splintering off because the residents reject being ruled by Damascus, the wishes of the Golan Druze, who have known Israeli rule for 50 years now, should be similarly respected. And that is before addressing the issue of the Israeli Jews living on the Golan. The world claims that the Golan is occupied, but in an ongoing comparative study, Prof. Eugene Kontorovich of Northwestern University Law School has found that the international community has generally been willing to allow settlers to vote in referenda on the fate of occupied territory. Thus, the Baker Plan envisioned Moroccan settlers voting on the fate of Western Sahara and the Annan Plan allowed Turkish settlers in Northern Cyprus to vote on the island’s fate.

If the international community were to follow its own established practice, it might propose a referendum in which all residents of the Golan—Jewish and Druze—could vote to accept Israel’s annexation of the territory. At any rate, this would be far less controversial than actually delivering these Druze into Assad’s hands.

There are other grounds on which the international community could legally ratify Israel’s control of the Heights. Consider the legal principle of “effectivity,” which was eloquently articulated by the Canadian Supreme Court in its landmark 1998 legal opinion on the possible secession of Quebec. This ruling “proclaims that an illegal act may eventually acquire legal status if, as a matter of empirical fact, it is recognized on the international plane.” Addressing fears that this would encourage illegal activity, the court clarified that “a subsequent condonation of an initially illegal act [does not] retroactively create a legal right to engage in the act in the first place.” This principle gives the world the ability to conclude that, although the initial annexation was illegal, and there is no right to annex occupied territory, the effectiveness of Israel’s policy means that it should receive retroactive approval, especially in light of a fundamental change of circumstances.

It is true that international law considers the crime of aggression to be a violation of jus cogens law, meaning that states must refrain from recognizing its effects. But the Heights were not conquered in an aggressive war, and the Security Council notably rejected the idea that the annexation was aggressive in a Jordanian draft resolution on the issue. Having recently annexed Crimea, even Russia should be open to reconsidering the case for defensive conquest.

Legally and politically, the case for recognizing Israel’s control of the Golan would be solid.
That would cover a Soviet-style collapse, in which Syria splinters but leaves behind an intact core. But should Syria be officially dissolved instead, as was Yugoslavia, by the secession of various regions, a radically new legal and political reality would be created.

Consider the following scenario: If Syria experiences multiple secessions, which might include the Assad regime fleeing Damascus in favor of a coastal Alawite state, it is possible that no new state would comprise a majority of Syria’s territory or population. In this case, the world powers might declare that Syria has ceased to exist and refuse to recognize any of the successor states emerging from the rubble as the inheritor of Syria’s legal personality. “Extinction is not effected by…prolonged anarchy within the State,” explained Justice James Crawford of the International Court of Justice, “provided that the original organs of the State…retain at least some semblance of control.” Syria could soon conclusively fail to meet that test.

After the Yugoslavian civil war erupted, it became clear that the country could not be reconstituted. The Badinter Arbitration Commission judged in 1991 that “Yugoslavia is in the process of dissolution.” Then, in 1992, the Security Council decreed in Resolution 777 that “the state formerly known as the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia has ceased to exist” and stated that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, later known as Serbia and Montenegro, could not “continue automatically” Yugoslavia’s membership in the UN. The FRY’s claim to be Yugoslavia was widely disputed, since it did not contain a majority of its predecessor’s population or territory. In a subsequent treaty, the five successor states agreed to divide between them the former Yugoslavia’s rights and assets as sovereign equals.

Seven independent states and more autonomous regions eventually emerged from the former Yugoslavia.

Seven independent states and more autonomous regions eventually emerged from the former Yugoslavia.

Yugoslavia dissolved despite the survival of its federal territories. The judgment that such a state in effect longer exists would be even stronger in the case of a unitary state collapsing along battle lines rather than internal boundaries, as Syria is doing now. In effect, no new state would have a strong claim to “be” Syria, and the world powers could declare that it has been extinguished with no single successor.

This would create a curious paradox or lacuna—a gap in the law. In effect, standing international resolutions would be demanding that Israel return territory to a state that no longer exists. Crucially, since none of the successor states would automatically inherit Syria’s rights and assets, none would inherit a prior legal right to the Golan Heights. Israel would have a prima facie obligation to hand over the territory, but no state in the world would have a legal claim to receive it. What would happen then?

The answer is that nobody knows. Syria’s successor states would have to justify their existence on the basis of the territories they control at the end of hostilities. They could not claim territory outside their effective control. This provides a unique window in which Israel’s claim to the Golan could be recognized with reference to its actual possession of the territory.

Such a situation would be almost unprecedented. It would be the first dissolution of a unitary, rather than federal, state in modern history, with one ironic exception—Palestine. When Mandatory Palestine collapsed into internecine warfare in 1948, the world recognized Israel’s boundaries not with reference to the 1947 UN Partition Plan, which was never implemented, but Israel’s actual possession of territory at the end of hostilities. It is true that claims to the territory by invading third parties were not recognized, namely Transjordan’s claim over the West Bank, but the ambiguity created by the unresolved question of sovereignty over this territory haunts the world to this day and remains a source of instability. By recognizing Israel’s control of the Golan, the world can prevent the emergence of another such anomaly that will only be a source of future grief.
The purpose of international law is to protect the international order, one in which states exist within secure and recognized borders. When the law provides no clear answers, it should be interpreted in the spirit of bolstering this international order. If the international community wishes to do this, nothing can legally stop it. The only way to bolster this international order and resolve the open question of the Golan is to recognize Israeli control over the territory.

From the Israeli perspective, this is obvious. Realistically speaking, there is no longer any incentive for Israel to return the Heights to Damascus. Until recently, some in Israel hoped to offer the Golan in order to seduce Syria away from the Iranian axis, a bold gamble to thwart Tehran’s push for regional hegemony. But with Iran emboldened by the recent nuclear deal and Syria now firmly under its domination, that possibility is foreclosed.

The process by which the world might recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Heights, however, will not be easy. The world needs not wait until the official collapse of Syria, but these scenarios may still be a way off, as the world powers resist recognizing the inevitable. Iran and Russia have every interest in maximizing Assad’s control over Syria, and would only write off the country as an absolute last resort. Recognizing breakaway states would raise uncomfortable questions about what is to be done about ISIS. And the current areas of control by various parties to the Syrian civil war do not neatly divide into separate, coherent entities that could be viable states.

But as surrounding states collapse further into a war of all against all, international recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan would be a bold statement in defense of the international order. Should the world fail to make such a statement, the Middle East could yet pay a heavy price for the world’s failure to let an anachronistic policy fall into desuetude.

{Eylon Aslan-Levy is a British-Israeli political commentator and writer. He is a graduate of Oxford and Cambridge, and a veteran lone soldier in the IDF. Twitter: @EylonALevy }

The Tower

What Yair Golan Intended to Say

Monday, May 9th, 2016

Shimon Riklin posted this:

I want to apologize to the Deputy Chief of Staff Yair Golan. It turns out that someone had made a substitution in the text of his speech. Here is the part of his speech [that caused such a ruckus and outcry – YM] in its original version:

“If there is some memory that is scary to see in recalling the horrifying developments that took place in Europe that have begin to unfold here, it is noticing horrific processes which developed in Europe – particularly in Germany – 70, 80, and 90 years ago, and finding remnants of that here in the Jewish state the year 2016, among the Palestinians who are trying to kill us just because we are Jews who are different from them
Thus, they are trying to complete what the Mufti tried to do in hoping to build incinerators as Jews in the Dotan Valley. It is time to stop this campaign of murder against our people. The time has come for the Palestinians to stop trying to be like the Nazis

That was my translation, with a bit of improvement.

Thank you, my friend, Shimon.

Yisrael Medad

UNSC Says Claim of Israeli Golan ‘Null and void’

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

The UN Security Council on Tuesday dismissed Prime Minister Netanyahu’s claim, made before a special session of his cabinet on the grounds of the region in question earlier this month, that the Golan Heights would “forever” remain under Israel’s control, as it has been since 1967. In the 19 years from 1948 to June 9th and 10th, 1967, a succession of Syrian governments used the vantage point of the Golan heights to target the Israeli civilian population along the shores of lake Kinneret.

“It is time that the international community recognized reality,” Netanyahu said on April 17, announcing, “Whatever happens on the other side of the [Syrian] border, the border itself will not move. And secondly, the time has come after 40 years for the international community to finally recognize that the Golan Heights will remain under Israeli sovereignty forever.”

Incidentally, what happens on the other side of the border is the brutal slaughter of military and civilians that has reached, according to some estimates, half a million dead, with about ten million civilians displaced. Had any Israeli prime minister in the past acted on the insane notion of returning the heights to the Syrians, Israel would have had to deal today with the worst fighting forces humanity has to offer virtually controlling its fate from high on top of the Golan basalt hills.

After reviewing Netanyahu’s claim, the UN Security Council members “expressed deep concern” over his position and “stressed that the status of the Golan remains unchanged.” The UNSC rotating president, China’s UN envoy Liu Jieyi, told reporters that Israel’s imposing its laws in the Golan is against Council resolution 497, and is “null and void and without international legal effect.”

Israel’s UN Ambassador Danny Danon responded saying, “Holding a meeting on this topic completely ignores the reality in the Middle East. While thousands of people are being massacred in Syria, and millions of citizens have become refugees, the Security Council has chosen to focus on Israel, the only true democracy in the Middle East.”

JNi.Media

Kremlin Denies Reports Russian Fighter Jets Fired at IAF

Saturday, April 23rd, 2016

Responding to Israeli media reports of Russian fighter jets opening fire at IAF aircraft in Syria’s skies, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday, “I don’t want to comment on the Israeli press. The Israeli press’s reports in this case are far from reality.” Which for someone unwilling to comment on the Israeli press was plenty commenting.

Yediot Aharanot reported last week that Russian fighter jets in Syria had opened fire twice at Israeli aircraft, but did not provide dates and locations of the incidents, nor the sources for the report.

Peskov was asked about the topics discussed during last week’s meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and said that both leaders had focused on Syria and the Middle East as a whole, as well as on bilateral trade and economic cooperation.

“The meeting was very useful and very substantive. It comprised three formats: a narrow-format meeting, negotiations at the level of delegations, and a tete-a-tete talk,” the spokesman explained.

According to Yediot Aharanot, the meeting between Putin and Netanyahu took place even as two separate reports on the Russian fighter jets opening fire on Israeli aircraft were coming in.

Peskov was asked about the Netanyahu cabinet resolution to keep the Golan Heights as an eternal part of the State of Israel, and told reporters, “The Russian position does not change, is in compliance with the corresponding resolutions of the UN Security Council and has no new aspects.”

United Nations Security Council resolution 497, adopted unanimously on December 17, 1981, states that the Israeli Golan Heights Law, which annexed the Golan Heights, is “null and void and without international legal effect,” and called on Israel to rescind its action. The Council requested the secretary-general to report to the Council within two weeks on the implementation of the resolution, and in the event of non-compliance by Israel, the Council would reconvene, not later than January 5, 1982, to discuss further action under the United Nations Charter.

That’s where things are holding for now.

JNi.Media

Netanyahu to Putin: Israel Will Keep Golan “With or Without Deal”

Thursday, April 21st, 2016

By Jesse Lempel/TPS

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Russian President Vladimir Putin during a face to face meeting in Moscow on Thursday that Israel would not relinquish the Golan Heights. The meeting marked 25 years of Israeli-Russian relations.

“Israel has clear red lines for self-defense,” Netanyahu told Putin according to a statement released by the Prime Minister’s Office. “We act to the best of our ability to prevent the transfer of advanced weaponry from Iran and Syria to Hezbollah in Lebanon,” he said.

Russian troops and airpower are fighting alongside the Syrian army, Iranian forces, and the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah against a host of rebel militias in Syria’s ongoing civil war. Netanyahu recently acknowledged that Israel conducts military airstrikes in Syria as well.

“I came here with one central goal: to strengthen the security coordination between us in order to prevent accidents, misunderstandings, and unnecessary conflict,” Netanyahu told Putin.

“As for the Golan Heights,” Netanyahu continued, “we will not return to the days when they fired on our communities and children from the heights of the Golan. Therefore, with or without a deal, the Golan Heights will remain under Israeli sovereignty.”

The firm declaration comes amid reports that some in the international community intend to demand that Israel withdraw from the Golan Heights as part of a peace deal in the Syrian civil war. Israel captured the northern territory from Syria in the 1967 war and formally annexed it in 1981 in a move not recognized by the international community.

To counter such an initiative, Netanyahu held a rare cabinet meeting in the Golan Heights on Sunday, vowing never to withdraw from the territory. Following the unusual public display, US State Department Spokesman John Kirby announced that “those territories are not part of Israel and the status of those territories should be determined through negotiations.”

Netanyahu and Putin also reached an agreement about pensions paid by Russia to citizens that have emigrated to Israel—a deal Netanyahu described as “a nice Passover present.”

After Putin offered a blessing for the Jewish holiday of Passover, which begins on Friday night, Netanyahu replied that “during the holiday, the people of Israel will sit at the Seder table, including over a million Russian-speaking Israelis, who form the living bond between our peoples.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Spokesman Says US Committed to Returning Golan Heights to Syrians — No Matter Which Syrians

Tuesday, April 19th, 2016

One of the minor victories of Israeli rightwing pundits has been fueled by the gruesome holocaust taking place over the past five years in Israel’s northern neighbor, Syria. Back in April 2008, then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert agrees to fully withdraw from the Golan Heights in return for peace with Syria. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad confirmed Olmert’s remarks at the time that Jerusalem and Damascus were holding talks through a third-party in an attempt to resume the negotiations between the two countries.

“There are efforts exerted in this direction,” Assad told reporters. “This is nothing new, and we have discussed this in the past.” Assad added that “Syria takes every opportunity to express its willingness to establish just and comprehensive peace in accordance with the international decisions… The criterion for the acceptance of any negotiations is that they will be held seriously and that there will be a commitment to implement the UN resolutions, particularly as the Israeli side knows very well what is acceptable and unacceptable by the Syrian side.”

What was acceptable to the Syrian ruler back then was a complete return of every last inch of the Golan Heights to Syrian control, removal of every last Jew and Jewish property from the area, and a return to the 1967 borders, when Syrian snipers ruled the lives of Israeli farmers along the eastern shores of the Kinneret.

Imagine, a long string of Israeli columnists, bloggers, Facebookers and Tweeters have been saying, if Israel had indeed returned to the 1967 border just before the scum of the Middle East — Sunni rebels, Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, ISIS, and Syrian chemical warfare operators were to crowd the basalt hills overlooking Tiberias — where would we be today?

It’s a winning argument, open and shut, other than Gideon Levi and a couple other useful idiots there really is no Israeli who would ever entertain returning the Golan Heights.

But at Foggy Bottom, where life behaves according to more sublime rules than the Jewish aspiration to stay alive, no lessons have been learned regarding the wisdom of returning Syrian murderers of whatever ilk to the hills above the Kinneret.

It began during the State Dept. Monday press briefing this week. Spokesman John Kirby was asked about the official US recognition of Syria. Essentially, the reporter wanted to know, if the US is so invested in ousting President Bashar al-Assad as a prerequisite for ending the civil war in Syria, why does it still recognize him as the legitimate sovereign of that tortured land?

The reporter asked (redacted): “Legally and diplomatically you only recognize Syria, as you have in the past. In fact, you still issue press briefings in the name of the US Embassy in Syria and so on. From time to time I see that you recognize the government of the Arab Syrian Republic. You have not recognized anyone else as exercising any kind of authority or any kind of sovereignty over any territory of Syria.

Kirby: I’m not sure I understand your question.

Reporter: My question is very simple. Do you recognize any other entity in Syria to have sovereignty over that territory?

Kirby: We recognize that there is a Syrian Government in place. We also recognize that it’s led by a dictator who continues to barrel bomb and gas his people. And the government that’s in place right now, led by Bashar al-Assad, can’t be part of the long-term future of Syria, which is why we’re doing this entire political process to begin with. It’s why so many nations have come together to try to resolve the civil war and the conflict there so that people can have a government in place that they’ve actually had a voice in putting there and that is responsive and responsible for them.

David Israel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/spokesman-says-us-committed-to-returning-golan-heights-to-syrians-no-matter-which-syrians/2016/04/19/

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