Netanyahu: The Golan Heights will permanently remain under Israeli sovereignty

PM calls on international recognition of Golan Heights under Israeli sovereignty; Syria responds intentions to “restore the Golan employing all necessary means including military means”, claims Russian rejection of “Israeli logic regarding the Golan”; Netanyahu to meet with Putin on Thursday

Netanyahu addresses his cabinet ahead of Merkel visit (Marc Israel Sellem/Flash90)

The Knesset held a special meeting on the Golan Heights Sunday amidst ongoing negotiations for ending Syria’s civil war, Prime Minister Netanyahu clarifying that the Golan Heights is Israeli territory and has flourished since Israel captured the region during the Six Day War. Touching on the necessity of Israel’s security amidst Syria’s conflict, Netanyahu called for international recognition of Israeli sovereignty of the region.

Netanyahu stated that “In the 19 years the Golan was under Syrian occupation, it was used for bunkers, barbed wire fences, landmines, and aggression. It was used for war. In the 49 years it has been under Israeli rule, it has been used for agriculture, tourism, economic initiatives, construction. It is being used for peace.” He spoke of the Syrian war, stating “Whatever happens on the other side of the border, the line is not going to change. The time has come after 50 years for the international community to acknowledge that the Golan Heights will permanently remain under Israeli sovereignty… I chose to hold this special government meeting in the Golan Heights to send a clear message. The Golan Heights will forever remain in Israel’s hands.”

Talks on ending Syria’s civil war are underway, factions from the Syrian government and High Negotiations Committee of the HNC currently in talks.

Addressing talks held between himself and United States Secretary of State John Kerry on Saturday, Netanyahu stated that he was clear to Kerry that Syrian conflict would not be resolved quickly and emphasizing the necessity for international reinforcement and measures to focus on extracting “Iran, Hezbollah and ISIS forces” from Syria.” He additionally addressed that Syria continuously “has persecuted minorities, like the Christians, Druse and Kurds, who are fighting justifiably for their future and their security. And, on the other side, there are terrorist forces, especially Islamic State, Iran, Hezbollah and others, who want to impose radical Islam on Syria and the region, and from there to continue on to impose it throughout the world.”

Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Miqdad responded to Netanyahu’s remarks stating “The occupied Golan is Arab land according UN Security Council resolutions. We are prepared to do everything to restore the Golan employing all necessary means including military means… We have never renounced the resistance and we are ready to recapture the Golan in all possible ways, including military ways. Israel wants to provoke us, but we will never surrender.”

Addressing Russia, he stated that Syria believes “that the Russian policy leans on international law and on UN Security Council resolutions. Neither Russian President Vladimir Putin nor any other president in the world would have accepted the indecent Israeli logic regarding the Golan.”

His remarks come before a scheduled meeting between Prime Minister Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin scheduled for Thursday in Moscow. Israel and Russia have agreed to military coordination at the beginning of 2016, the meeting scheduled to focus on regional threats and Syria. Reports claim that Netanyahu will use the meeting to address Russia’s ongoing arms deals with Iran.