World units against US decision on Golan
Date: 2019-03-26 08:42
Several governments have condemned US President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Israeli sovereignty over Golan Heights.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres responded to the controversial move, saying it was "clear that the status of Golan has not changed."
The UN's policy on Golan is reflected in the relevant resolutions of the Security Council and that policy has not changed," UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said. Israel seized the strategic land from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war.
A UN Security Council resolution adopted unanimously by the 15-member body in 1981 declared that Israel's "decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction, and administration in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights is null and void and without international legal effect." It also demanded Israel rescind its decision.
Moscow said it feared "a new wave of tensions" in the Middle East following the controversial decision.
Russia's Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the move "ignores all international procedures" and would "only aggravate the situation."
The UK also joined the condemnations, saying it has "no plans" to change its position on the sovereignty of the occupied territory.
"The UK views the Golan Heights as territory occupied by Israel," said a statement, underlining that international law, including the UN Charter, prohibited the "annexation of territory by force."
"We did not recognize Israel's annexation in 1981 and have no plans to change our position," the UK Foreign Office added.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the United States' recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights was unacceptable and asserted that Ankara will take action against the decision, including at the United Nations.
Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit slammed Trump's recognition of the Golan Heights as Israeli territory, saying the decision does not change the area's status, according to a statement published by Egypt's state news agency MENA.
Amnesty International, on the other hand, called the decision "irresponsible, reckless and yet another example of the Trump Administration violating international law and consensus by condoning Israel's illegal annexation."
Eric Goldstein, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch, said Trump seems to want to "drive a wrecking ball" through international law that protects the people who live in "occupied Golan Heights." He said it could embolden other "occupying states to double down on their own land grabs, settlements and plunder of resources."