It has been reported that during a meeting in Washington yesterday, Prime Minister Netanyahu asked U.S. President Donald Trump to ‘recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights’ .

Al-Marsad calls on the international community to strongly reject Israel’s latest attempts to obtain international acceptance of its illegal occupation and annexation of the Syrian Golan / Golan Heights.

During the 1967 Arab Israeli War, Israel seized and occupied 1,250 km2 of the Syrian Golan (roughly 70% of the Golan) resulting in the forcible transfer or displacement of over 130,000 native Syrian inhabitants (95% of the population); the destruction of one city and 340 villages and farms; and the establishment of Israeli settlements.

In 1981, Israel enacted the Golan Heights Law which purported to annex the territory into the state of Israel, an illegal action widely condemned by the international community. Indeed, United Nations Security Council Resolution 497 (1981) was clear that: ‘[…] the Israeli decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights is null and void and without international legal effect’.

Today, there are at least 23,000 Israeli settlers in the Golan, living in 34 illegal settlements. Together with the Israeli military and authorities, they control 95% of the land. Meanwhile, the remaining native Syrian population is approximately 25,000 who live in five severely overcrowded villages located in the extreme north of the Golan, and who control just 5% of the land.

The remaining native Syrian population face daily violations of their basic human rights, that include land appropriation, home demolition orders, family separation, the deployment of land mines and military bases in Syrian residential areas, to name but a few.

To make matters worse, Israel is cynically taking advantage of the ongoing conflict in Syria and a distracted international community, to create ‘new facts on the ground’ in the Golan by rapidly increasing the settler population and the extraction of natural resources. Indeed, plans were announced in 2015 to increase the number of Israeli settlers by 100,000 over the next five years.

The position according to international law is clear: the acquisition of territory by use of force is illegal. The international community must condemn Israel’s latest rhetoric and take concrete action to protect the fundamental human rights of the native Syrian population of the Golan.

ENDS
Al-Marsad is an independent, not-for-profit, legal human rights organisation – it is the only human rights organisation operating in the Occupied Syrian Golan. For additional information, please contact marsad@golan-marsad.org or researcher@golan-marsad.org