19:04 GMT12 August 2020
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    Israel took over part of Syria’s Golan Heights during the 1967 Six-Day War, annexing the area in 1981. The UN denounced Tel Aviv’s decision as “null and void and without international legal effect.” Last March, Washington formally recognised the occupied area as Israeli territory. Damascus blasted the move and vowed to regain its lands someday.

    The Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vaily Nebenzya has called on the architects of the so-called ‘deal of the century’ Israeli-Palestinian peace plan to remember that the Golan Heights belong to Syria.

    “Yesterday, Washington published its vision for a settlement in the Middle East. We could not help but notice that the maps included in the plan defined the Golan Heights as Israeli territory,” Nebenzya said, referring to a pair of maps tweeted out by President Trump showing the proposed Israeli and Palestinian states which clearly show the Golan Heights northeast of the Sea of Galilee as part of Israel.

    “In this connection, we would like to remind the ‘geographer’ who created this map that we and Security Council Resolution 497 do not recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan,” Nebenzya added.

    “The Golan Heights are illegally occupied Syrian territory,” the ambassador stressed.

    In 1981, after Tel Aviv moved to annex the occupied areas of the Golan Heights, the United Nations unanimously adopted a resolution saying that Israeli claims to the Golan Heights were “null and void and without international legal effect.” In 1982, 86 other countries in the General Assembly adopted a second resolution calling for a general boycott of Israel over its occupation of Syrian territory, but the US and its European allies rejected the initiative. Israel gained control of the Golan Heights in the aftermath of the Six-Day War, a brief conflict which took place in June 1967 which began when Israel launched preemptive airstrikes against an Arab coalition led by Egypt.

    Oct. 11, 2018, an Israeli flag in front of the village of Majdal Shams in the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights. Syria slammed President Donald Trump's abrupt declaration that Washington will recognise Israel's sovereignty over the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, saying Friday March 22, 2019, the statement was irresponsible and a threat to international peace and stability
    © AP Photo / Ariel Schalit
    Oct. 11, 2018, an Israeli flag in front of the village of Majdal Shams in the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights. Syria slammed President Donald Trump's abrupt declaration that Washington will recognise Israel's sovereignty over the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, saying Friday March 22, 2019, the statement was "irresponsible" and a threat to international peace and stability

    US President Donald Trump signed a proclamation recognising Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights in March 2019 after a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Dozens of countries including the US’s European allies rejected Washington’s change in position, while Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov characterised the decision as a “conscious, deliberate demonstration of lawlessness.”

    Syria warned that it would never give up its claims to the Golan Heights territories, and indicated that it has the legal right to regain the Golan Heights by any means possible, alleging that force was “the only language which Israel understands.” Skirmishes have been reported in the area in the months since, with Israel occasionally reporting the destruction of projectiles launched from the Syrian side of the border, while Syrian air defences have reported the shootdown of Israeli missiles.

    On Tuesday, US President Donald Trump unveiled his long-awaited ‘Deal of the Century’ Israeli-Palestinian peace plan. The proposal envisions a two-state solution, recognises Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and grants the Palestinian Authority several neighbourhoods of East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state. It also offers the Palestinian side $50 billion in investments. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas rejected the proposal outright, telling Trump Jerusalem was “not for sale,” and vowing that the deal would “not go through” under his watch.

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