Golan Heights integral part of Syria – Egypt's FM

Tuesday 19-04-2016 07:40 PM

Israeli flag - Reuters

CAIRO, Apr. 19 (Aswat Masriya) – Egypt's foreign ministry said Tuesday that the Golan Heights are an integral part of Syrian land in response to Israeli statements calling on the international community to recognise its sovereignty over the occupied territory.

Israel occupied the Syrian Golan Heights during the 1967 Six Day war and later annexed the territory in 1981.

The annexation was not recognised internationally. 

In the first ever cabinet meeting held in the occupied Golan Heights, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared on Sunday that the territory "will remain under Israel's sovereignty permanently," according to news reports.

In its statement on Tuesday, the Egyptian foreign ministry said that the Israeli declaration represents a violation to the principles of international law and the UN Security Council and the General Assembly resolutions.

One day after Netanyahu's statements, The U.S. State Department said that the Obama administration does not consider the Golan Heights to be part of Israel, Haaretz reported.

The Israeli statement comes at a time when Syria is engulfed in a protracted civil war that has cast major repercussions on the entire region. 

After the Oct. 6, 1973 war, which erupted between Egyptian and Israeli forces in the Sinai peninsula and between Syrian and Israeli forces in the Golan, a ceasefire was implemented between Egypt and Israel, but tensions on the Syrian front remained high.

The United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) was deployed in the Golan Heights by Security Council resolution 350 in 1974 in order to create an area of separation between Syria and Israel containing no military forces.

The UNDOF has remained in the area to maintain the ceasefire between the Israeli and Syrian forces and to supervise the implementation of the disengagement agreement.

The international community considers the Golan Heights to be occupied territory and the Israeli settlements there illegal.

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