Gulf States Denounce U.S. Recognition of Israel's Sovereignty Over Golan Heights

In an official statement, Saudi Arabia warns that the move will have 'significant negative effects on the peace process in the Middle East' ■ Bahrain, Kuwait, UAE and Qatar join condemnation, call to respect international law

FILE Photo: Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman speaks during a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Hyderabad House in New Delhi, India, February 20, 2019.
Adnan Abidi/Reuters

Arab Gulf states - including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Kuwait - denounced U.S. President Donald Trump's recognition of Israel's 1981 annexation of the Golan Heights on Tuesday. 

"Attempts to impose fait accompli do not change the facts," said a statement by the Saudi Press Agency. It said the Golan Heights was an "occupied Syrian Arab land in accordance with the relevant international resolutions" and that U.S. recognition "will have significant negative effects on the peace process in the Middle East and the security and stability of the region."

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Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates also said that they regretted the decision and called for the respect of international laws. 

>>Read more: Trump handed Netanyahu the Golan with a bow on top. It's a first step toward annexation | Analysis 

"Bahrain's foreign ministry reaffirms its position that Golan Heights are an Arab and Syrian territories, occupied by Israel since June 1967, as it is confirmed by the resolutions of the UN Security Council,"  Bahrain's ministry said in a statement.

Kuwait also released a statement through its foreign ministry regretting the decision, while Qatar called on Israel to end its occupation of the Golan Heights and comply with international resolutions.

Trump, with visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looking over his shoulder during a visit to Washington, signed a proclamation on Monday officially granting U.S. recognition of the Golan Heights as Israeli territory. 

Israel seized the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Middle East War and annexed it in 1981 in a move not recognized internationally. 

The Saudi Press Agency report described Monday's declaration as a clear violation of the United Nations Charter and of international law. 

In addition, thousands of Syrians gathered Tuesday in different cities to protest the announcement. SANA posted photographs of a march in the southern city of Sweida on Tuesday morning, in which men and women carried Syrian and Palestinian flags and banners reading "Golan is Syrian." SANA said other protests took place in the southern city of Daraa, about 20 kilometers (13 miles) from the Golan Heights. Protests were also held in the northern city of Aleppo, Syria's largest, Homs and Hama in the center, and Hassakeh in the northeast.