Statement on US recognition of Israel’s claim to Golan Heights
26th March 2019
The Rt Hon Sir Hugo Swire KCMG MP – Chairman, Conservative Middle East Council
The Rt Hon Sir Nicholas Soames MP – President, Conservative Middle East Council
Yesterday President Trump signed a proclamation stating that the United States recognises the Golan Heights as part of Israel’s sovereign territory.
Since 1981 UN Security Council Resolution 497 has stated that Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights was “null and void and without international legal effect”. A UN spokesman has confirmed that President Trump’s proclamation does not alter the status of the Golan Heights. President Trump’s recognition of the Golan Heights as part of Israel contradicts international law and goes against US policy for the past 38 years.
For those who are committed to finding a sustainable, permanent Middle East Peace Process, that supports the aspirations of both Israel and the Palestinian people, yesterday’s statement seriously undermines the United States’ traditional role as the mediator in the dispute. The Golan Heights is home both to some 20,000 Israelis living in settlements, which are not legal under international law, and an equal number of Druze Arabs.
The seriousness of this move significantly elevates risk of further seriously destabilising the Middle East. Now more than ever the Middle East region requires the stability and support of countries operating through the institutions that govern our rules-based world legal order. Contradicting those rules, and undermining those institutions, is at best reckless but certainly dangerous. For this reason, President Trump’s recognition is extremely regretful and we find it deeply concerning. As Parliamentarians we call on Her Majesty’s Government to confirm that the UK remains committed to UN Security Council Resolution 497 and to a long-term and workable Middle East Peace Process.