World unconvinced by Netanyahu’s claim Golan will remain part of Israel
“The conditions under which those territories are ultimately returned should be decided through negotiations between the respective parties,” said a State Department spokesman.
Washington issued a simple response to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent statement that the Golan Heights are an integral part of Israel and will remain so forever: “No, they are not.”
A day after the Israeli cabinet held its first-ever meeting Sunday on the Golan Heights and Netanyahu said the world needs to get used to the idea that the region would remain in Israel’s hands forever, State Department spokesman John Kirby said the US position on the Golan Heights is “longstanding and is unchanged. Every administration on both sides of the aisle since 1967 has maintained that those territories are not part of Israel.”
Kirby was asked about the issue by Al Quds‘s Washington correspondent, Said Arikat, who on a regular basis uses the daily State Department press briefing as a platform to ask provocative questions about Israel.
The State Department spokesman said, “The conditions under which those territories are ultimately returned should be decided through negotiations between the respective parties. And obviously, Said, the current situation in Syria makes it difficult to continue those efforts at this time.”
A few hours before Kirby’s response, Netanyahu told Israeli diplomatic reporters in a briefing on Monday that when he went to the Golan on Sunday he asked himself to whom Israel was expected to return the strategic plateau.
“To Islamic State?” he asked. “When the Syrians were there it was a platform for attacks against Israel. The time has come for the international community to internalize that the whole Golan will remain in Israeli hands.”
But it seems the international community will need a lot of convincing, because Netanyahu’s comments also elicited negative responses from other key actors on the world scene, such as the German Foreign Ministry and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
Asked about the issue at the German Foreign
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