• Sun. Jul 3rd, 2022
Golanhøjderne-Wikipedia
    No country in history has ever given back to a sworn enemy militarily important lands that have been conquered in a defensive war.

  • It was foreseeable that the EU would oppose US recognition of the annexation. However, they did not put forward any significant arguments beyond the usual requirement that the status quo should not be changed.
  • Has any European country ever given back high-lying lands that have been conquered in a defense war to a sworn enemy? It must be remembered that by the end of the First and Second World Wars, several European countries were making territorial adjustments to help maintain peace. Why would the EU expose Israel to a double-standard demand for a special standard that Europe has never demanded of itself? The answer is obvious: the EU has always acted hypocritically when it comes to Israel, and this is no exception.


No sensible person would ask the Israelis to return the Golan Heights to the Syrian mass murderer Assad. It would be pure suicide to give these heights overlooking Israeli towns and villages to a mad man who will use them to bombard Israeli civilians with chemical barrel bombs, as Assad has done to his own citizens. No country has ever delivered a warship, conquered in a defensive war, back to an enemy who has sworn to destroy it. The Golan Heights is such a large warship that would be used to attack Israel.

The Golan Heights are not like the West Bank, which houses a large civilian population that considers itself occupied or displaced. The civilians who lived in the Golan Heights before Israel captured them on the last day of the Six Day War were mainly Druze. Those who stayed live much better off living in Israel than in Syria. Since Assad began his murderous conduct, many Druze in the Golan have already become Israeli citizens.

As one of the 25,000 Arab Druze recently stated in a Los Angeles Times article:

“There is no doubt that Druze and Israelis in the Golan are living a life of safety and security that is not at all comparable to life on the other side … Every day at dinner, he says, he reminds his children that while eating well, there are children in Syria who have nothing to eat. “

So Israel’s control of the Golan Heights is not about people; it is largely about a military advantage. No country in history has ever given back militarily important areas that have been conquered in a defensive war to a sworn enemy.

The question is not whether Israel should give the Golan Heights back now. Virtually everyone agrees that they should not. Moreover, they will not. No Israeli prime minister, no matter how far left he / she is politically, would ever think of leaving the Golan Heights to Assad. The area consists of ridges, from which the Syrians used to shoot down the Israeli rural population who worked in the valley: it was a pure shooting range.

Israel will retain control of the Golan Heights for the foreseeable future. The only question is whether Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights should be recognized by the United States and other countries. It should be, for several important reasons.

The reality on earth is that Israel will never give up the Golan Heights to Syria unless it happens as part of a negotiated agreement with a peaceful, democratic Syria, which has declared itself willing to cease all warfare and recognize Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. . This is unlikely to happen in the foreseeable future. Should that happen, there will be nothing to prevent Israel from handing over the annexed Golan Heights to Syria as part of a lasting peace agreement. Therefore, there is nothing harmful in Israel’s decision to annex the ridges and the United States’ decision to recognize this annexation. Moreover, the decision to annex and recognize the annexation will remove the Golan Heights from an occupied territory status and recognize the status quo as both de facto and de jure [factual and legal] reality.

I had the opportunity to discuss this issue with US President Donald J. Trump two weeks before announcing his decision. I gave him the warship analogy he seemed to like. I told him that I thought that the Sunni Arab world would probably complain, but that in reality they are quite indifferent to the Golan, which has no religious significance in Islam. There have actually been some minor protests, but none of significance.

It was foreseeable that the EU would oppose the US recognition of the annexation. However, they did not put forward any significant arguments beyond the usual requirement that the status quo should not be changed. Israel’s control of the Golan Heights has been the status quo for more than half a century; and Israel’s legitimate need to control the heights has only grown with time, with the war in Syria and with the presence of Hezbollah and the Iranian military in close cooperation. Would the EU demand that Israel today hand over the Golan Heights to Assad? Has any European country ever handed over hills that have been conquered in a defensive war to a sworn enemy?

It must be remembered that at the end of both the First and Second World Wars, several European countries made territorial adjustments as an aid to maintaining peace. Why would the EU expose Israel to a double-standard demand for a special standard that Europe has never demanded of itself? The answer is obvious: the European Union has always acted hypocritically when it comes to Israel, and this is no exception.

So three cheers for President Trump, who has done the right thing. I will continue to criticize him if and when he does something wrong – such as tearing families apart at the southern border of the United States.

That’s what duality means: praising the president I voted for when he does the right thing, and criticizing presidents I have voted for (such as Barack Obama) when they do the wrong thing (such as abstaining) from voting against the Security Council resolution declaring Jewish sanctuaries occupied territory).

Israel’s continued control of the Golan Heights increases the possibility of peace and reduces the risk that Syria, Iran and / or Hezbollah will be able to use these ridges as a launching pad against the Israelis. This is good news for the world, for the United States and for Israel.


See also the following from 2017

https://miff.dk/omstridte-territorier/2017/06/20beder-verden-anerkende-golan-som-israelsk.htm


Editors’ comments on additional arguments

Analyst Evelyn Gordon points out that international law has traditionally distinguished between offensive and defensive warfare. But modern interpretations – not least in connection with the mention of Israel – blur the distinction.

The analysis goes into depth with UN Security Council Resolution 242, which was adopted just after the Six Day War. The introduction emphasizes that one must not take over territories by means of war – but at the same time the wording of the resolution itself is such that Israel was not ordered to give back all the conquered territories.

However, it is becoming more and more common to interpret Resolution 242 as demanding that Israel renounce all that was conquered. And similarly, one does not distinguish between conquests via defense and conquests via aggression.

The result is that one rewards aggression – and it can probably be seen more clearly in connection with the Golan Heights than in connection with any other case. The argument that recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights will make it easier for e.g. Russia to gain recognition of sovereignty over Crimea can only apply if one blurs the distinction between attack and defense!

Evelyn Gordon’s article also provides details on the many Syrian attacks on Israel from the Golan Heights , which Dershowitz mentions in this article.

We can also recommend Bjarte Bjellås article in Norwegian (2019-04-03) “Therefore it is important with Israeli sovereignty over the Golan – Syria abused the area to shoot at Israeli farmers and cities.” The article is based on an analysis by former Israeli UN Ambassador Dore Gold, who now runs the research center Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. Like Evelyn Gordon, Dore Gold highlights the difference between defense and offense. But in addition, he explains the United States’ positions as far back as 1975, and goes into more depth on how Israeli control over the Golan Heights contributes to regional stability. The article also includes a 10-minute video presentation of Dore Gold. Dore Gold speaks slowly and clearly, so do not be intimidated by the fact that the presentation is in English.

Finally, we can recommend Dan Harder’s column “Golan” (2019-03-26), which focuses briefly and sharply on the real relations between Israel and Syria.


Sources and Notes

Alan M. Dershowitz is Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law Emeritus at Harvard Law School and author of “The Case Against the Democratic House Impeaching Trump,” as well as Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute.

Original article: “Trump is Right about the Golan Heights” – 2019-03-30. Translated by Mette Thomsen, published 2019-04-03. Reprinted with permission of the Gatestone Institute.

Recent Articles by Alan M. Dershowitz


  • It’s time to tell the truth about the Palestinian problem, 2019-02-06 (also on MIFF.DK 2019-02-06)


  • What is a “refugee”? The Jews from Morocco versus the Palestinians from Israel, 2018-03-31


  • Why will Abbas not accept “two states for two peoples” ?, 2017-06-19


  • The White House should respond to Netanyahu’s important new proposals, 2015-03-04


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.