The UN Security Council has today issued a statement blasting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for recent comments on the Golan Heights, reiterating that “the status of the Golan remains unchanged,” and that it doesn’t belong to Israel despite being occupied by them since 1967, and being illegally annexed by Israel in the 1980s.
Officials noted UN Security Council resolution 497, way back in 1981, made it clear the UN considers Israel’s annexation to have no legal effect internationally. In today’s comments, officials also expressed concern about Israel’s establishment of cities and towns in what is effectively occupied territory.
Last week, Netanyahu declared that Golan was “forever” Israeli, and demanded the international community formally recognize the annexation, saying the Syrian Civil War proved the land could never be returned to the Syrians.
Netanyahu’s predecessors, however, had attempted to negotiate a peace deal with Syria, and returning the heights could’ve been a big part of that peace, which Netanyahu opposed at the time. His comments, then, seem centered around trying to cement the current far-right coalition’s desire to keep occupied territory as part of established international law.
Yet even the US and Germany, nations that are often attacking the UN for criticizing Israel’s behavior in the occupied territories, were quick to reject Netanyahu’s comments, noting that the annexation is a violation of the UN charter.