Trump’s Golan Heights Declaration: A Step Towards More War in the Middle East
Lindsey German: Trump and his main allies, Israel and Saudi Arabia, are building up towards conflict with Iran
Donald Trump’s latest prop to Binyamin Netanyahu’s Israeli government is to endorse Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. The move is deliberately calculated as the latest chess move in Trump’s campaign against Iran. It follows the sanctions imposed on that country, and the decision last year to move the US embassy to Jerusalem.
After 52 years it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel’s Sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which is of critical strategic and security importance to the State of Israel and Regional Stability!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 21, 2019
The Golan heights were part of Syria but were annexed by Israel after the 1967 war, along with Gaza and the West Bank. Despite repeated demands Israel has continued to occupy these territories and in 1981 applied Israeli law to the Golan Heights, something condemned by the UN and not recognised in international law. Since then, Israeli settlements have grown, while the original population have been forced to leave.
The declaration by Trump follows the endgame of the Syrian war, as ISIS faces total defeat. He is fearful of Iranian influence in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon and is gearing up for conflict in the Middle East. His main allies here remain Israel and Saudi Arabia, who are building up towards conflict with Iran. Netanyahu is due to visit the White House shortly and is desperate for Trump’s support, given that he is facing an election and corruption allegations.
Foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt has chosen this time to announce that Britain will no longer follow UN procedure in terms of resolutions on human rights abuses in Gaza and the West Bank. The UK will now oppose motions criticising these abuses which come before the UN’s human rights council through a procedure dedicated to Israel’s behaviour in the occupied territories.
Trump and Israel will be delighted by this. The rest of us should fear that it is one more step in denying rights for the Palestinians, and one more towards further war in the Middle East.