Russia challenges Israel’s sovereignty in Golan Heights

Israel’s changing of the Golan Heights’ status “without the approval of the UN Security Council would consist of a violation of existing agreements,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov claimed. 

By Jack Gold, World Israel News

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov dismissed Israel’s claims for sovereignty in the Golan Heights when he stated Wednesday that “changing the status of the Golan Heights without the approval of the UN Security Council would consist of a violation of existing agreements,” Israel’s Ynet news reported.

Lavrov was responding to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s statements on Monday that Israel’s presence on the Golan Heights is “a guarantee for stability in the surrounding area.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. (AP/Pavel Golovkin)

“The Golan Heights will always remain under Israeli sovereignty because otherwise we would have Iran and Hezbollah on the shores of the Kinneret [lake],” Netanyahu stated.

Israel’s presence “is a solid reality based on ancient rights” and “a fact that the international community must recognize,” he said.

While “Iran and Hezbollah are trying constantly to establish a force opposite us that would operate against the Golan Heights and the Galilee,” Israel is “thwarting this and as long as it depends on me we will continue to do so,” the prime minister stressed.

“We will continue to act with determination against Iran’s attempts to open an additional front against us on the Golan Heights, and in Syria we will act against all attempts to transfer lethal weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon,” he added.

‘Putin understands importance Israel ascribes to Golan’

Netanyahu is slated to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the near future to discuss the latest developments in the region, particularly since the September 17th downing of a Russian reconnaissance plane by Syrian forces who were responding to an Israeli air strike – a friendly fire incident that stoked regional tensions.

“I decided with President Putin on the important security coordination between the IDF and the Russian military, and of course together we have developed good relations between Russia and Israel,” Netanyahu stated Monday.

“I know that President Putin understands my commitment to the security of Israel and I know that he also understands the importance that I ascribe to the Golan Heights, that we all ascribe to the Golan Heights and to the heritage of Israel,” the Israeli premier underscored.

Speaking at the beginning of the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, Netanyahu said that he spoke with Putin.

“We agreed to meet soon in order to continue the important inter-military security coordination. Israel will act at all times to prevent Iran from establishing a military presence in Syria and to thwart the transfer of lethal weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon,” he declared.

Israel has repeatedly asserted its right to sovereignty in the Golan Heights, citing ancient and historic bonds as well as security necessities as a reason for its presence there.

Speaking in April 2016 during Israel’s first-ever Cabinet meeting held in the Golan Heights, held in honor of the 34th Government’s first year in offices, Netanyahu stated that that Israel will never withdraw from the area under any circumstances.

“The Golan Heights have been an integral part of the Land of Israel since ancient times; the dozens of ancient synagogues in the area around us attest to this,” Netanyahu stated. Israel’s historical roots on the Golan run back over three millennia.

Netanyahu said he chose to hold this festive Cabinet meeting on the Golan Heights “in order to deliver a clear message: The Golan Heights will forever remain in Israel’s hands. Israel will never come down from the Golan Heights.”

The Golan Heights is crucial for Israel’s security on its northern border, and therefore “the time has come for the international community to recognize reality,” he said.