This week’s cabinet meeting was held in Golan and Netanyahu said he choose to have “this festive cabinet meeting” there in a bid to “send a clear message: the Golan Heights will forever remain in Israeli hands.”
Israel began annexing the region in 1981 but the international community does not recognize its authority in the area. Netanyahu said “it’s time, after 50 years, that the international community finally recognizes that the Golan will forever remain under Israeli sovereignty.”
A statement from the Syrian government in reaction to Israeli prime minister’s remarks vowed that “the Israeli occupation entity made its settlers promises that will fall flat on the first test when faced by the heroism of our homeland defenders.” It also termed Netanyahu’s government as “racist.”
Around 20,000 settlers are living in the Golan Heights in more than 30 Jewish settlements.
Netanyahu stressed that “whatever is beyond the border, the boundary itself will not change” as he underlined that Israel’s security will be prioritized. According to the Prime Minister, he already told US Secretary of State John Kerry that Tel Aviv does “not oppose a diplomatic settlement” in the Syrian war that does “not come at the expense of the security of the state of Israel.”
The Golan Heights is a strategic military point. Israel reportedly intervened in Syria to target Hezbollah claiming the group posed threats.