This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.
Turkey, Iran, and Syria have condemned U.S. President Donald Trump’s statement that Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights should be recognized by Washington.
Russia, meanwhile, voiced hope Trump’s statement will remain “just a call.”
Trump has said it is time that the United States “fully” recognizes Israel’s sovereignty over the disputed Golan Heights, which it captured from Syria in 1967.
The Golan Heights is of “critical strategic and security importance to the State of Israel and regional stability,” Trump tweeted on March 21.
After 52 years it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel’s Sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which is of critical strategic and security importance to the State of Israel and Regional Stability!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 21, 2019
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on March 22 that Trump’s move has brought the region to the edge of a new crisis. “We cannot allow the legitimization of the occupation of the Golan Heights,” Erdogan told a meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
Syria’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement carried by state news agency SANA that Damascus “condemns in the strongest terms the irresponsible statements of [Trump] regarding the occupied Syrian Golan.”
Trump’s remark “affirms the blind bias of the United States to the Zionist occupation entity and its unlimited support for aggressive behavior,” SANA added.
Syria and Israel have fought several direct and proxy wars over the past decades and have never made a peace deal.
Iran, one of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s main military backers, condemned Trump’s remark as dangerous.
“Trump’s personal and ill-considered decision is dangerous and will only lead to further crises in the Middle East,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi said on March 22.
The Kremlin voiced hope that Trump’s statement would not be enacted. “It is just a call for now. Let’s hope it will remain a call,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a conference call.
Israel captured the 1,800-square-kilometer Golan Heights from Syria during the 1967 Six-Day War.
In 1981, Israel extended its laws to the region, effectively annexing it, in a move that has not been recognized by the international community.