Martin Indyk: ‘The Golan Heights are Syrian territory’

In response to talk that Trump might recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan, former ambassador Martin Indyk says: “the Golan Heights are Syrian territory.”

By David Jablinowitz, World Israel News

Martin Indyk, a former U.S. ambassador to Israel and past U.S. envoy to the Middle East, says that the Golan Heights is Syrian territory and cannot be transferred to Israeli sovereignty.

“Like it or not, the Golan Heights are Syrian territory,” Indyk wrote on Twitter.

He acknowledged that “Israel cannot give them up now given its legitimate security concerns.”

He added, however, that “to recognize Israel’s annexation of territory that is not its own is to play with fire for partisan political purposes. No Arab state will accept it,” Indyk wrote.

His comments were linked on the social media site to an Axios report that quoted an Israel Channel 13 reporter as saying that aides to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s main rival in April’s Knesset election, Benny Gantz, were saying that “they think [U.S. President Donald] Trump could announce U.S. recognition of the Golan Heights during Netanyahu’s visit to the White House two weeks from now.”

Gantz’s aides were also quoted as telling the reporter “that if Trump does this, it will give Netanyahu a huge achievement to campaign on.”

“Not that anyone in Trump or Netanyahu land cares,” Indyk said, “but for the U.S. to recognize Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights would be a direct contravention of U.N. Security Council Resolution 242, which the United States co-authored, and Israel accepted.”

The news report notes that Netanyahu discussed the possibility of U.S. recognition of the Golan Heights during a visit to the territory on Monday with Sen. Lindsey Graham,” and that “U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman attended all of Netanyahu’s talks with Graham.”

Indyk served as ambassador to Israel twice from 1995 to 1997 and 2000-2001. He has also been an assistant secretary of state for Near East affairs, a member of a U.S. Middle East peace team, and, most recently, a special envoy to the Middle East under President Barack Obama.

He is currently executive vice president of the Brookings Institution in Washington.