Trump's Golan Recognition Will Cause Bloodshed, Top Palestinian Negotiator Warns

Druze leaders call Trump and his announcement 'delusional' ■ Egypt urges international community to prevent Israeli sovereignty over Golan ■ Hamas: Trump's move is new kind of aggression against Arab nations

Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat looks on during a news conference following his meeting with foreign diplomats, Ramallah, West Bank, January 30, 2019.
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat looks on during a news conference following his meeting with foreign diplomats, Ramallah, West Bank, January 30, 2019.Credit: \ MOHAMAD TOROKMAN/ REUTERS
Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, who chairs the Palestine Liberation Organization, blasted U.S. President Donald Trump's announcement on the Golan Heights, which he said will further destabilize the Middle East.

"Yesterday, Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, today he recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan – what will lead to a lack of stability and bloodshed in the region tomorrow,” Erekat said.

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that "The Golan Heights is an occupied Arab territory, according to the international community and UN resolution 497, which was adopted in 1981 by the Security Council. The international community should honor its stance, preventing Israeli sovereignty over the area.

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Druze leaders in the Golan Heights, meanwhile, called Trump's announcement "a delusional declaration of a delusional man. The decision changes nothing in terms of the status of the Golan according to international law or for the Druze residents and was clearly meant to help Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu politically.

Senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh waves as he arrives to deliver a farewell speech for his former position as a Hamas government Prime Minister, in Gaza City June 2, 2014.Credit: Reuters

“The Golan is occupied territory and an inseparable part of the homeland of the Syrian people. As happened in Jerusalem, also on the matter of the Golan nothing will change as far as the international community is concerned and it is clear that the position of the [Trump] administration is for Netanyahu’s internal political purposes,” the Druze leaders added.

According to Hamas, Trump's remarks constitute a blatant violation of the international law and contradict the stance of the international community. The Gaza organization added that Trump's move is a new kind of aggression against Arab nations.

Islamic Jihad, another faction in the Gaza Strip, echoed Hamas' statement, stating that "Trump is supporting the Israeli occupation and aggression, proving the U.S. is completely bias in favor of Israel."

Fatah said "Trump's statement doesn’t change the fact [the Golan] is an occupied territory.” Fatah also accused Trump of supporting colonialism and slavery.

Trump took to Twitter on Thursday to state that it was time the United States recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, territory it occupied in the 1967 war.

"After 52 years it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel's Sovereignty [sic] over the Golan Heights, which is of critical strategic and security importance to the State of Israel and Regional Stability [sic]!''

Israel’s Arab parties also attacked Trump’s recognition of Israeli sovereignty.

“Trump’s tweet makes clear his intentions and the components of the ‘Deal of the Century,’ which is coming to eternalize the Israeli control of the occupied territories and imposing a unilateral solution. The Trump administration is supporting with this position the occupation and is acting against the United Nations resolutions," the United Arab List-Balad said.

“Trump’s Deal of the Century appears as such that will change the face of the Middle East at the expense of the welfare of the residents living there, in favor of the Israeli occupation and the policies of Trump’s government, which is hostile to human rights and the peoples,” the party added in its statement.

The chairman of the Hadash-Ta’al party, MK Ayman Odeh, said: “decisions on the Middle East are not made unilaterally, and certainly not on Twitter.”

Joining the condemnation, the secretary general of the Arab League, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, said Trump's decision is irrelevant, illegal and does not give Israel any rights in the area.

"The League of Arab States fully supports Syria's right for its occupied territory," Aboul Gheit was quoted as saying by the Russian Sputnik news agency.

"Syria has the right to have the territory returned to it," he added.

Al-Marsad, the Arab Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Golan, also denounced Trump's announcement. ”President Trump’s tweet signals a major shift in U.S. policy that runs contrary to facts, logic, and international law, while threatening stability across the Middle East."

The Gulf Cooperation Council regional group of six Arab monarchies expressed regret at Trump's recent move.

"Trump's statement 'will not change the reality that (...) the Arab Golan Heights is Syrian land occupied by Israel by military force in 1967," said Abdul Latif Al Zayani, the GCC secretary general.

"The statements by the American president undermine the chances of achieving a just and comprehensive peace," Al Zayani said.

Dmitry Apartzev, the mayor of Katzrin – the biggest city in the Golan – expressed his support for Trump's announcement.

“On the day of the Purim holiday the president of the United States declares the recognition of the Israeli sovereignty on the Golan Heights, which is a sign and conclusion for this joyous day. I thank President Trump for his statement and the important recognition for us, the residents of Israel in general and the residents of Katrin and the Golan Heights in particular. The declaration of the recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights will bring about another leap in the momentum of development of the Golan and Katzrin, its capital,” said Apartzev.

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