The United States should recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) has said. A spokesperson for Hoyer confirmed in response to an inquiry from The Jewish Insider on Thursday that the Congressman believes “Israel should maintain control of the Golan Heights.”
Israel captured most of the Golan Heights from Syria during the June 1967 Six Day War. While the Jewish State ceded a portion of the land as part of a separation of forces agreement with Syria following the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Israel has retained roughly two-thirds of the Heights.
Earlier this week, Iran’s air force chief Brig. Gen. Aziz Nasirzadeh vowed that his forces were ready to fight a war culminating in “Israel’s disappearance,” hours after Israel retaliated for an attempted rocket attack by Iranian-backed forces on the Golan Heights.
Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid warned in May 2018 that it would be “ridiculous and absurd” to demand that Israel withdraws from “the Golan Heights and give it to a mass murderer [Bashar al Assad] who is cooperating with Iran and Hezbollah.”
Last week, Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) sent a letter to U.S. President Donald Trump, calling for the official recognition. Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, is also supporting the move.
The two Democratic Congressmen followed Republican Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who introduced a resolution last month that stated, “Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights is critical to Israel’s national security,” and that “Israel’s security from attack from Syria and Lebanon cannot be assured without Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.”
Meanwhile, Michael McCaul (R-TX), a ranking member on the Foreign Affairs Committee, told The Jewish Insider: “The Golan Heights plays a vital role in protecting Israel from threats along its northern border and I fully support recognizing Israeli sovereignty over this land. This will send an important message to Islamic terrorists, and to the regimes in Iran and Syria, that America is committed to an unbreakable bond with Israel.”
Israel sees the Golan Heights as an important strategic asset in the defense of its northern borders. For Israel, the topography of the Heights provides a natural buffer against any military thrust from Syria.
[Photo: AFGE / Flickr ]