EU Does Not Recognize Israeli Sovereignty over Occupied Golan

The European Union (EU) announced on Wednesday, March 27, that it does not recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights which was taken from Syria in the June 1967 war and which has been occupied by Israel ever since. EU foreign policy Chief Federica Mogherini elucidated the union does not agree with the step taken by US President Donald Trump when he recognized Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Golan during Netanyhu’s stay in Washington on Thursday, March 21.

European Union foreign policy Chief Federica Mogherin

European Union foreign policy Chief Federica Mogherini (Photo: EU)

“The position of the European Union as regards the status of the Golan Heights has not changed,” said Mogherini. “In line with the international law and UN Security Council resolutions 242 and 497, the European Union does not recognize Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights.”

“The EU) will not recognize any changes to the pre-1967 borders, including with regard to East Jerusalem,” Shadi Othman, spokesperson for the EU in Jerusalem, stated on Wednesday.

Othman emphasized, “The EU position with regard to Jerusalem remains unchanged. It is reflected in Foreign Affairs Council Conclusions and endorsed by all 28 EU Member States. The EU will not recognize any changes to the pre-1967 borders including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed to by the parties.”

Othman noted that the EU’s position applies to all territory occupied by Israel. He stressed, “The European Union, in line with international law, does not recognize Israel’s sovereignty over any of the territories occupied by Israel since June 1967, including East Jerusalem, and does not consider them to be part of Israel’s territory, irrespective of their legal status under domestic Israeli law.”

With regard to the holy places in East Jerusalem, particularly Bab al-Rahma at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, Othman said that “the EU recognizes the special significance of the Holy Sites of Jerusalem for the three monotheistic religions, and strongly believes that the status quo put in place in 1967 must be upheld in line with previous understandings and with respect to Jordan’s special role.”

During the past week lawmakers from Hadash have accused Trump of timing the announcement to influence the April 9 elections in Israel and get Netanyahu re-elected. “Trump is trying to save Netanyahu from his desperate situation and return him to power,” said MK Aida Touma-Sliman. She called the recognition part of “the entrenchment of Israeli and American control over the Middle East and a targeted assassination of the … opposition in the Golan by thousands of Syrian citizens, who are standing firm against all attempts at Israelization and normalization” — a reference to the Golan’s Syrian-Druze population.

Hadash leader Ayman Odeh called Trump’s move a “cheap and cynical provocation.” “Decisions on the Middle East should not be unilateral and certainly not announced over Twitter,” Odeh said, warning that it would further destabilize the region.