Rubio Would Recognize Israeli Annexation of the Golan Heights

Republican presidential hopeful says he would recognize Israeli control of the territory captured from Syria, contrary to previous U.S. administrations.

Jacob Kornbluh, Jewish Insider
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Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio speaks to guests during a rally, January 6, 2016.
Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio speaks to guests during a rally, January 6, 2016.Credit: AFP
Jacob Kornbluh, Jewish Insider

This article was originally published on Jewish Insider.

Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio says he’s in favor of Israel annexing the Golan Heights, a request recently denied by the Obama administration.

“I believe at this point [in regard to] the Golan Heights, Israel should take a position that it is now something they will permanently hold, especially given what’s happened in Syria,” Rubio said in an interview with Ami Magazine, published on Wednesday.

During his last visit to the U.S., in November 2015, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly asked President Barack Obama to recognize full Israeli sovereignty on the Golan Heights. Obama did not respond, but senior White House officials told Haaretz the request was “unjustified” since it would undermine attempts to reach a diplomatic solution to the Syrian civil war. Previous U.S. administrations have also not recognized Israeli control of the Golan territory.

Rubio also reitrated his stance that the conditions do not exist for the creation of “some sort of Palestinian statehood” even if peace talks resume between Israel and the Palestinians.

“Peace, yes. An agreement and some sort of Palestinian statehood with the situation right now? I do not believe the conditions exist for that,” Rubio told the Orthodox Jewish magazine.

“I do not believe that as things stand today the conditions exist for a permanent resolution to this issue of a Palestinian homeland, and the fact of the matter is, if such a territory were to be created today it would be probably used to launch attacks against Israel the way Gaza is used,” he asserted.

Rubio’s position seems to be in sync with both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton.

In October 2015, Hillary said a lasting peace settlement is out of reach until Israel and the Palestinians “know what happens in Syria and whether Jordan will remain remain stable.”

But while Hillary suggested no one should ever give up on pushing for a two-state solution, Rubio maintained that peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians will only be possible is the U.S. stands strongly with Israel. “The stronger Israel is, the likelier its enemies are to moderate or temper their behaviors, ” Rubio told Ami.

”If there’s daylight between the United States and Israel, if there’s any doubt the U.S. will come to Israel’s assistance, you’re basically encouraging Hamas, Hezbollah and others to launch attacks on Israel.”

In the interview, Rubio said he stands by his statement that Donald Trump’s positions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are “anti-Israel.”

“I stand by my statement that his positions are anti-Israel,” the Florida Senator said about the Republican presidential front-runner. “To say that you’re not going to take sides in the conflict between Palestinians and Israel is to basically help the Palestinian Authority because that’s exactly what they want us to do, not take sides.”

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