TEL AVIV – Republican senators Ted Cruz and Tom Cotton proposed a resolution on Tuesday calling for the U.S. to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
The motion was presented as a punishment for dictator Bashar Assad’s actions in Syria, which controlled the Golan Heights until its capture in the 1967 Six Day War, and according to the draft of the resolution would “ensure that the Assad regime faces diplomatic and geopolitical consequences for the killing of civilians, the ethnic cleansing of Syrian Sunnis, and the use of weapons of mass destruction.”
The resolution also stipulates that Israel’s national security is dependent on maintaining control of the strategic Golan Heights, currently deemed by the U.S. as “occupied Israeli territory.”
“Israel’s northern border is threatened by Iranian forces and their proxies in Lebanon and Syria, including Hezbollah’s 150,000 rockets, armed drones, newly discovered terror tunnels, and more,” said Senators Cruz and Cotton in a statement. “Meanwhile, with the ayatollahs’ help, Bashar al-Assad’s regime is on the verge of securing victory in Syria’s civil war. He may soon turn his attention back to threatening the Jewish state.”
“Israel gained possession over the Golan Heights in a defensive war over 50 years ago, and has responsibly controlled the area ever since,” Cruz and Cotton said. “It’s past time for the United States to recognize reality by affirming Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights.”
For over a year, Yesh Atid party chairman Yair Lapid has pushed for recognition of the territory, and in June met senior American lawmakers to discuss the matter.
“Recognizing the Golan Heights is the right way for the U.S. to say in deeds to Assad: ‘There’s a price for what you did against your people.’ To say in deeds to Israel: ‘We support your struggle over the Golan Heights,’ and say in deeds to the Iranians that they have no place there,” Lapid said on Tuesday.
“Think how terrible it would be if we left this strategic place, which is as big as a middle-sized farm in Texas, to Assad. This is the world’s opportunity to say in a clear voice that Israel will never withdraw from the Golan Heights,” Lapid said.
However, reports emerged last year that U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman had chided Israeli lawmakers for pushing the issue so soon after President Donald Trump formally recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moved the embassy there.