Russia has rejected Israel’s claim to sovereignty over the Golan Heights which has been under Israeli occupation for 51 years.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov indicated that his country will not agree to any change of status of the Golan Heights, insisting that Moscow, along with the large majority of the international community, considers it to be occupied Syrian territory.
The status of the Golan Heights is determined by the resolutions of the UN Security Council,” Lavrov was quoted by Tass as telling reporters yesterday. “To change this status bypassing the Security Council, I think, would be a direct violation of these resolutions.”
Lavrov’s remarks appear to be a direct response to comments made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netenyahu’s on Monday while standing on the Golan Heights and declaring that it will remain under Israeli sovereignty.
Speaking at the dedication of a restored 1,500-year-old synagogue on the Golan Heights, Netanyahu said, “as long as it is dependent on me, the Golan will remain under Israeli sovereignty. Otherwise, we will get Iran and Hezbollah on the banks of the Kinneret.”
Netanyahu made similar remarks in August by urging the US to recognise Israel’s right to the Golan Heights. “I will not give up our expectation that the United States recognise Israeli sovereignty over Golan,” he said in a statement. US ambassador to Israel David Friedman endorsed the remark stating that Washington should consider recognising the Golan Heights as part of Israel without returning its sovereignty to Syria.
Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria during the 1967 Six Day War, and formally annexed the territory in 1981. UN Security Council Resolution 497 of that year declared that Israel’s annexation of the “occupied Syrian Golan Heights is null and void and without international legal effect.” The Resolution passed unanimously.