Dubai: Amid flaring tensions along the Israeli-Syrian border, the Syrian regime’s ambassador to the United Nations on Friday said his country would retake the Golan Heights “by peace or by war”, and the Israeli regime’s ambassador vowed to never withdraw from the territory it captured in 1967.
The exchange between the two diplomats capped a nonbinding vote in which the United States for the first time opposed a resolution introduced every year calling on Israel to end its occupation of the “occupied Syrian Golan”.
The resolution, which passed with 151 votes and only Israel and the United States in opposition, declares Israel’s jurisdiction over the area “null and void” and a “flagrant violation of international law.”
What is the Golan conflict?
Since the 1967 Six-day War, the western two-thirds of the Golan Heights has been occupied and administered by Israel, and the eastern third has remained under control of Syria. The area that came under Israeli occupation consists of two geologically distinct zones: the Golan Heights proper, with a surface of 1,070 sq km, and the slopes of the Mount Hermon range, with a surface of 100 sq km. The new ceasefire line was named the Purple Line.
With the onset of the Syrian Civil War, the eastern third of the Golan was split between the regime and opposition forces, with a UN force maintaining a 266 square km buffer zone in between, to implement the ceasefire of the Purple Line.
The Israeli regime officially annexed the strategic plateau in 1981, a move that is considered a violation of international law. Israeli colonisation of the Golan began soon after the 1967 war. Construction of Israeli colonies began in the territory occupied by Israel, which was under military administration until the regime passed the so-called “Golan Heights Law” extending Israeli law and administration throughout Golan in 1981.
The Israeli regime has been lobbying the Trump administration to recognise its sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which is known for its tourist spots and wineries. It also is home to an estimated 22,000 Druze who speak Arabic and have families in Syria.
-With inputs from agencies