Just a week after the opening of the US embassy in Israel in Jerusalem, a US congressman is calling for Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights to also be recognized.
Florida Rep. Ron DeSantis believes that although the move would be largely symbolic, it could encourage the White House to take a position on the sensitive issue.
The congressman believes that by recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, the US would make it clear that it will never force Jerusalem to relinquish the territory.
Israel captured the Golan Heights during the Six-Day War of 1967 from the Syrians, who had used its hills to routinely shell Israeli settlements in the Galilee.
The Israeli annexation of the Golan Heights in 1981 has not been recognized by the international community, including the United States, which regards the area as occupied territory.
Washington’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December and the subsequent relocation of the US embassy have been widely criticized around the world, with the longstanding international position being that Jerusalem’s status should only be recognized as part of a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.
The move has also led to widespread anger in the Arab world and to violent Palestinian protests.
The US embassy’s opening on May 14 was marred by violent protests along Israel's border with Gaza, with a total of 60 Palestinians killed and more than 2,000 injured in clashes with Israeli security forces.