Lebanese officials Monday condemned U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize the occupied Golan Heights as Israeli territory, saying the move does not change the area's status.
Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil said in a tweet that the American decision violated international law and destroyed all efforts to reach a just peace to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, hours before Trump signed the proclamation officially granting U.S. recognition of the Golan Heights as Israeli territory.
The move, which came during a White House visit by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, marked a dramatic shift from decades of U.S. policy. Israel seized the strategic land from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war, annexing it in 1981 in a move never recognized by the international community.
The Lebanese Foreign Ministry also released a statement condemning the move, asserting that the Golan Heights is a Syrian, Arab land. No decision could change this fact or “forge history” by transferring a land's ownership from one country to another, the statement said.
“And if Israel thinks it can expand by taking over lands through violence and aggression, it will find itself isolated and facing another military defeat. Its power and racism will not benefit it, and it will not find security without a fair and comprehensive peace,” the statement added.
Finance Minister Ali Hasan Khalil said, “the Golan Heights is a Syrian, Arab occupied land, and all of Palestine is an Arab land [belonging to] the Palestinian people. This is an unchanging truth that is certified by international United Nations laws and recognized by regional and international organizations,” he wrote in a tweet.
“Trump’s signature, and those who came before him and who will come after him, will not change this truth,” he added.
Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea said the American decision would only further aggravate the situation in the Middle East and break down the peace process.
“We are not with this step. We are committed to international decisions regarding the Golan, Syria and others,” Geagea tweeted.
Earlier Monday, Lebanese Druze Sheikh Nasreddine al-Gharib also denounced Trump’s decision, calling on Arabs to defend their land and “return the Golan to the bosom of the motherland, Syria, and the leadership of President Bashar Assad.”
The decision to recognize Israeli sovereignty, Gharib added, was “made by an arrogant egomaniac who holds the title of president of one of the greatest countries in the world.”
Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Walid Bukhari in a tweet Tuesday expressed his country's "complete rejection and condemnation of the American administration’s announcement."
Syria has called the decision a "blatant attack" on its sovereignty and territorial integrity, saying it had a right to reclaim the territory.
"The liberation of the Golan by all available means and its return to the Syrian motherland is an inalienable right," Syria's foreign ministry said in a statement carried by state news agency SANA.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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