In an interview on Monday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed President Biden’s Israel policy. When asked if the new administration will continue recognizing the Golan Heights as Israeli territory Blinken questioned the legality of the recognition, but still made it clear that he favored Israeli control of the territory.
“Look, leaving aside the legalities of that question, as a practical matter, the Golan is very important to Israel’s security,” Blinken said. He said as long as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad “in power” in Syria “as a practical matter, the control of the Golan in that situation I think remains of real importance to Israel’s security.”
Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in 1967 and annexed the territory in 1981, a move that was not internationally recognized. In 2019, the Trump administration formally recognized the Golan Heights as Israeli territory.
Blinken’s comments suggest that the new administration might not agree with Trump’s move, but they will probably not reverse it. Before the November presidential election, a Biden campaign official said the Biden administration would not change the Golan Heights recognition.
One Trump policy the Biden administration has made clear it will not change is the move of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel. When asked on Monday if he regards Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Blinken answered, “I do, yes. And, more importantly, we do.”