Never mind the natural beauty, ruggedness and open spaces the region offers –qualities which have helped turn it into one of the country’s main getaways and outdoor recreational destinations.
Imagine the strife and danger that northern Israel would be facing due to the long, bloody civil war in Syria if the Golan was still in the hands of brutal Syrian dictator Basher Assad.
Begin’s decision was based on the belligerent Syrian declaration that even if Israel and the Palestinians would have reached a peace agreement, Syria would never make peace with Israel.
The reactions to the annexation were predictable. Then-Syrian president Assad called it a “declaration of war,” and the Reagan administration said that the annexation was inconsistent with the Camp David accords, complaining that the United States had been given no prior warning of the move.
As the Post’s Tovah Lazaroff has pointed out, until now the US has abstained on this resolution, which has largely been opposed only by Israel. However, as she has done so many times in the past since taking up her position, outgoing US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley cut through politics to put things into proper perspective when it comes to Israel and the volatile region in which the Jewish nation is situated.
“The US will no longer abstain when the UN engages in its useless annual vote on the Golan Heights. If this resolution ever made sense, it surely does not today,” Haley said before the vote.
“Given the resolution’s anti-Israel bias, as well as the militarization of the Syrian Golan border and a worsening humanitarian crisis, this year the United States has decided to vote ‘no’ on the resolution,” she said, adding, “The resolution is plainly biased against Israel. Further, the atrocities the Syrian regime continues to commit prove its lack of fitness to govern anyone.”
That didn’t prevent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, facing the dissolution of his government, from effusively thanking the US and its president Donald Trump for the vote. Calling it “important and just,” Netanyahu said that the vote was “completely in line with our policies – Israel will remain forever on the Golan Heights, and the Golan Heights will forever remain in our hands.”
With Syria in its current state, that declaration is one that all Israelis can get behind. As Haley pointed out: “The destructive influence of the Iranian regime inside Syria presents major threats to international security. ISIS and other terrorist groups remain in Syria.”
The annual resolution at the UN does not take that grim reality into account, and in fact, seems to be based on a fantasy world where “victim” Syria has been somehow wronged by the big, bad aggressor Israel.