Middle East

Syria reiterates its right to fully take back occupied Golan Heights from Israel

Syria has reiterated its right to fully take back the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights through all possible means guaranteed by international law, emphasizing that all measures taken by the occupying Tel Aviv regime to change the legal status of the Syrian territory are null and void and have no legal effect under UN resolutions.

Speaking at a UN Security Council session on Wednesday on the “Situation in the Middle East,” Syria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Bassam Sabbagh lambasted the failure of the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland to mention Israel’s colonial activities and other expansionist practices in the occupied Golan Heights in his reports.

He added that it is highly deplorable that the UN has overlooked repeated Israeli acts of aggression on Syrian territories– the latest of which took place on December 28 last year when Israeli warplanes fired a number of missiles at the port of the coastal city of Latakia, causing large explosions and fires.

Sabbagh pointed out that Syria has sent several letters to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and other relevant officials to inform them of developments in the occupied Golan Heights, and to warn them against threats of recurring Israeli acts of aggression to the stability of Syria and the Middle East region.

The senior Syrian diplomat stressed that the Damascus government strongly condemns flagrant violations being committed by the Israeli regime in the Golan Heights, including its land expropriation policies, imposition of demographic changes and theft of its natural resources.

He reiterated Syria’s inalienable right to fully take back the occupied Golan Heights through all possible means, which are guaranteed by international law and not subject to relinquishment or prescription.

Sabbagh stressed that all Israeli measures meant to change the natural and demographic characteristics of the Golan Heights, and impose its laws and jurisdiction on the occupied territory, are null and void and have no legal effect under international law and UN resolutions, particularly Resolution 497.

He called upon UN member states not to recognize Israeli measures in the occupied Golan Heights, condemn the regime’s hostile practices there and put an end to them.

He concluded that the call by Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan for condemnation of anti-occupation protests represents the “height of hypocrisy,” and is aimed at distracting the world public opinion away from the Tel Aviv regime’s repeated acts of aggression against Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese national.

Last month, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution demanding that the Israeli regime fully withdraw from the Syrian Golan Heights, declaring “null” and “void” the regime’s imposition of its jurisdiction on the occupied territory.

The Assembly adopted the draft resolution titled “The Syrian Golan” by a recorded vote of 94 in favor to 8 against, with 69 abstentions.

Israel was joined by the US, the UK, Australia, Canada, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, and Palau in voting against the draft resolution.

The draft resolution reaffirmed that settlement construction and any other Israeli activities constitute a change in the demographic nature of the occupied Syrian Golan.

Back in November 2021, the United Nations overwhelmingly adopted a resolution in condemnation of illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East al-Quds, and Syria’s Golan Heights, and demanded cessation of their construction.

In 1967, Israel waged a full-scale war against Arab territories, during which it occupied a large swathe of Golan and annexed it four years later – a move never recognized by the international community.

In 1973, another war broke out; and a year later a UN-brokered ceasefire came into force, according to which Tel Aviv and Damascus agreed to separate their troops and create a buffer zone in the Heights. However, Israel has over the past several decades built dozens of illegal settlements in Golan in defiance of international calls for the regime to stop its illegal construction activities.

In a unilateral move rejected by the international community in 2019, former US president Donald Trump signed a decree recognizing Israeli “sovereignty” over Golan.

Nevertheless, Syria has repeatedly reaffirmed its sovereignty over Golan, saying the territory must be completely restored to its control.

The United Nations has also time and again emphasized Syria’s sovereignty over the territory.

 

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