Saudi Arabia joins Arab anger over ‘theft of occupied Golan Heights’

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia joined Arab states on Tuesday in condemning a decision by the United States to recognize the occupied Golan Heights as Israeli territory.

Breaking decades of international consensus, US President Donald Trump signed a proclamation at the White House on Monday recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the border area that Israel seized from Syria in 1967. 

Saudi Arabia firmly rejected the decision and affirmed its position that Golan Heights was occupied Syrian Arab land in accordance with the relevant international resolutions, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

Bahrain, Kuwait and UAE also released an official statement on Tuesday expressing their regret over the announcement made by US over Golan Heights.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation also condemned Trump’s decision, and said it does not change the legal status of Golan as Arabic and Syrian land under international law.

The declaration, made by the US, is a clear violation of the Charter of the United Nations and the principles of international law, the SPA report said.

The US decision was a violation of Security Council resolutions 242 of 1967 and 497 of 1981, and would have devastating implications on the peace process in the Middle East, as well as security and stability in the region, Saudi Arabia’s official statement said.

Saudi Arabia called on all parties to respect the decisions of international legitimacy and the charter of the United Nations.

Meanwhile, the Arab League Secretary-General, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, said that the decision “does not change the area’s status” as illegally occupied territory,

Syria said the decision was a blatant attack on its sovereignty. 

“Trump does not have the right or the legal authority to legitimize the occupation,” a foreign ministry spokesman said.

Opposition chief Nasr Al-Hariri said Trump’s decision would “lead to more violence and instability, and it will have negative effects on efforts to engineer peace in the region.”

Lebanon said the move “violates all the rules of international law” and “undermines any effort to reach a just peace.”

“The Golan Heights are Syrian Arab land, no decision can change this, and no country can revisit history by transferring ownership of land from one country to another,” the Foreign Ministry said.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani criticized US President Donald Trump for recognizing the Golan Heights as part of Israel and said the move was against international law.

“No one could imagine that a person in America comes and gives land of a nation to another occupying country, against international laws and conventions… Such action is unprecedented in the current century,” Rouhani was quoted as saying by state news agency IRNA.

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