Still, some issues regarding relations of the Israeli regime to its neighbors have been so sensitive and of unpredictable consequences that all American administrations, except for that of Trump, treated them cautiously and declined to meet the Israeli demands.
This political tradition in the US policy underwent a transformation with Donald Trump and his team of politicians comprised of hardliners and closest allies to the Israeli lobbies in the US. As a result, some red lines were crossed. One was the relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Al-Quds (Jerusalem) that followed the recognition of Al-Quds as the capital of a Jewish state, a move that triggered a global backlash and killed the so-called Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
In the latest show of support to the Israeli occupation, the US Department of State on Wednesday dropped “occupied Golan Heights” and replaced it with “Israeli-controlled Golan Heights” in reference to the Syrian territory the Israeli regime occupied in 1967 war.
The alteration of the description word at the present time appears to bear some goals and should not be simply ignored as a typo. On November 17 last year, the US opposed a UN resolution condemning continued occupation of the Syrian high lands by the Israeli regime.
More important than getting a picture of the US goals is the consequences of this measure which some of the American policymakers say not only will not serve Israeli regime's interests but also will increase the threats to its security.
Golan’s historical importance and Trump-Netanyahu’s electoral deal
The Golan Heights is a Syrian territory a large part of which was seized during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. Since then, it has remained under the Israeli occupation, with Tel Aviv defying UN resolutions calling for its handover to the Syrian government.
Although the territory was occupied after the Arab-Israeli Six-Day war, we should not ignore the Israeli eyes on it even long years before the creation of the Israeli regime. In addition to the religious beliefs that justify Golan occupation, the Syrian territory has huge water resources, fertile soil, spectacular natural attractions, and geopolitical position that make it a focus of the Israeli greed.
Golan is so crucial for the Israelis that Tel Aviv has been working hard to perpetuate the crisis in the Arab country and even push for its split in a bid to end a Damascus lawsuit filed to the UN asking for the return of its territory from the Israeli occupation. But Tel Aviv's efforts have apparently failed as the Syrian government has regained much of the territories from terrorist groups and calm is returning to the nation after eight years of devastating conflict.
Despite the fact that the Western-Arab-Israeli scenarios to impose a defeat on Syria in a ferocious war failed due to the firm resistance of Damascus and its allies, the Israelis remain planning to legitimize their occupation of Golan. Early January 2019, Israeli Prime Minister told the visiting US National Security Advisor John Bolton “the Golan Heights is tremendously important for our security. When you’re there you’ll be able to understand perfectly why we’ll never leave the Golan Heights and why it’s important all countries recognize Israel’s sovereignty over it.”
In February, Tom Cotton and Ted Cruz, both Republican senators, set in motion a bid in the Congress asking the US to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights. Last week, Senator Lindsey Graham, of South Carolina, visited along with Netanyahu the occupied Syrian territory and vowed to push forward a Trump administration’s effort to recognize Israeli ownership of the territory.
So, one reason for Trump to materialize the demand to recognize the Israeli sovereignty over Golan is a hope by the president to get the support of the strong Zionist lobbies in the US to guarantee his re-election in 2020.
From another aspect, removing the term “occupied” in the US Department of State can greatly repair resoundingly shaky position of Netanyahu ahead of the early Knesset elections, scheduled for April 9. The PM has been rocked by corruption and sexual scandals for which the police have investigated him and his wife. Add to this his back-to-back defeats in important regional cases in the confrontation of the Axis of Resistance in the region.
Trump’s unilateralism, mainly in the West Asia region, has so far failed to go anywhere. Afghanistan war, anti-Iranian pressures, and the “deal of the century” all bear witness to the US administration’s failure. Such measure have just triggered massive global criticism against over their destabilizing influences. It can be predicted that the occupied Golan Heights recognition will meet its doom in the near future.
On Saturday, a couple of days after the State Department move, the UN General Assembly’s Fourth Committee approved eight resolutions requesting Tel Aviv to end its occupation over Golan and Eastern Al-Quds which is a capital of Palestinian state according to a peace initiative. The resolutions echoed resolution 497, passed in 1981, that rejects the Israeli annexation of the Golan Heights to the occupied Palestinian territories.
The Jerusalem Post reported that the UN Human Rights Council on Monday will put to vote five anti-Israeli occupation bills, including a Pakistani-drafted one representing the Islamic Cooperation Organization condemning the Israeli occupation of Syrian land.
On April 22, 2016, Dmitry Peskov, Kremlin’s press secretary, asserted that the Russian stance on Golan was firmly held and accordant with the UN Security Council’s resolutions. In June 1967, the UN passed its resolution 242 asking the Israeli regime to retreat to pre-1967 borders and hand over Golan Heights, West Bank, and Gaza to Syria, Jordan, and Palestine.
So, the US measure may in the short run serve Netanyahu’s image in the upcoming election but in the long run will isolate Tel Aviv and will increase frictions that could hit the Israeli political, economic, and social atmosphere like an earthquake.