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  • U.S. President Trump sees Israel's Prime Minister Netanyahu off from the White House in Washington.

    U.S. President Trump sees Israel's Prime Minister Netanyahu off from the White House in Washington. | Photo: Reuters

Published 28 March 2019

The Syrian representative to the UN warned that Israel's annexation of the Golan Heights leaves but one choice: "the use of force."

The diplomatic tone over the Golan Heights has become worse in recent days, following an order signed by U.S. President Donald Trump proclaiming support over the illegal annexation of the territory by Israel. 

The territory in the South-West of Syria was occupied by Israeli forces during the war of 1967 and annexed during the final days of the conflict. The territory came under Israeli military control, leading native Arab inhabitants to flee the area. An armistice was signed in 1974 after the Syrian government tried to retake the territory. Although the Syrian Army could inflict heavy losses against their Israeli counterpart, the attack was thwarted. On December 17, 1981, the UN unanimously adopted resolution 497, which declared that Israel's Golan Heights law signed in the same year was "null and void without international legal effect." 

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However, the unilateral decision by the Trump administration has worsened the crisis in the region. While Trump's order is seen as a gift to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ahead of the elections in April, Lebanon has also taken security measures against Israel. 

Israel illegally occupies Lebanese territories in the Shebaa farms, Ideise, Huneen, Kfarchouba and Blida since 1981. The move by the U.S. president rang alarm bells in the country, which declared it would be ready to defend its occupied territory against any such decisions. During a meeting between Lebanese President Michel Aoun and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on March 26, Aoun announced that the decision by the U.S. "undermines all the foundations and rules of the UN, international law from the very foundation of this organization." The president also added that "of course, this is very disturbing and creates particular concern for those countries that are in close proximity to Israel."

The Russian Federation has also shown its support at the UN Security Council for Syria, but also reiterated its support for Lebanon with the Russian President calling it a "traditional, long-standing partner in the region of the Middle East and North Africa." Russia's mission at the UN stated that it stands in full support of Resolution 497 and does not recognize any Israeli claim over the territory. 

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