International community leaves Trump alone on Golan Heights decision

The U.S. decision to recognize the Israeli occupation in the Golan Heights drew a massive reaction from the international community. From Arab countries to the Western world, the U.S. and Israel have been completely left alone in their stance.

One of the first reactions came from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas who slammed U.S. President Donald Trump's decision by saying that it "contravenes international law and legitimacy."

"There is no legitimacy that can override U.N. Security Council resolutions, the U.N. General Assembly or the [2202] Arab Peace Initiative," Abbas said in a statement released by his office, which was carried by Palestine's WAFA news agency.

Other Arab countries, including Gulf States, also decried the decision, underlining that such decision would not make any changes on the facts and the decision marks a "black day" for the Arab world.

"Attempts to impose a fait accompli would not change the facts," Saudi Arabia, a close ally of the U.S., said in a statement cited by the official SPA news agency yesterday. It reiterated that the Golan Heights is an occupied Syrian Arab territory.

Bahrain's Foreign Ministry, on the other hand, warned that the U.S. move would disrupt peacemaking efforts in the Middle East. In a statement, the ministry underlined its "firm stance that the Golan Heights is a Syrian Arab land occupied by Israel in 1967."

Another Gulf country, Qatar, underlined its rejection of the U.S. move, affirming its "principal stance that the Golan Heights is an occupied Arab land."

"Supporting the Israeli occupation to disdain U.N. resolutions regarding the occupied Golan Heights, especially Security Council resolution 497 [1981], will not change the facts," the Qatari Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Mauritania also regretted the U.S. move, saying it "violates all principles that regulate international law."

The decision "breaches international legitimacy resolutions especially Resolution 947 and destabilizes the whole region and the world," the Mauritanian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun also opposed the Trump's decision, calling it a "black day" for the Arab world.

"Today, the Arab ummah is experiencing a truly black day due to the fact that Trump has already announced the recognition of the sovereignty of the state of Israel over the Golan Heights," Aoun said while speaking at the Russian lower chamber of parliament, the State Duma, in Moscow. He said foreign leaders have no right to make decisions on other countries' territories.

"In addition... such steps are contrary to the international law and the decisions of the U.N. Security Council," the Lebanese president added.

Nothing changes in Russia's

stance over Golan Heights

Following the Lebanese president's remarks, the Kremlin said that President Vladimir Putin will discuss the Golan Heights with Aoun. Russia, on Monday, also said that its stance on the Golan Heights remains unchanged.

"Nothing has changed, either before or after," said Mikhail Bogdanov, presidential envoy for the Middle East and Africa. The Russian Foreign Ministry also said on its website the move will "further deteriorate the situation" in the region.

Western world: Decision

a violation of international law

Other than Arab states and Russia, the Western world also reacted to the U.S. decision harshly, saying that it is in violation of international law.

"'The status of Golan has not changed. The U.N.'s policy on Golan is reflected in the relevant resolutions of the Security Council," the U.N. said in the aftermath of the decision while the EU reiterated its stance against recognizing Israeli sovereignty.

The U.K. also reiterated its recognition of the Golan Heights as "territory occupied by Israel."

"We did not recognize Israel's annexation in 1981 and have no plans to change our position," the U.K.'s Foreign Office said.

Spain, on the other hand, said that it does not recognize the legitimacy of the move in line with international law and the U.N. Security Council resolutions while Canada rejected "permanent Israeli control" over occupied Golan Heights.

Syria denounces

U.S. decision

While the international community was protesting the decision, for many, the reactions from the Syrian regime fell flat due to the fact that they did not go beyond condemnation, just like any other state did.

The Syrian regime said that Washington's recognition was a blatant attack on its sovereignty.

"In a blatant attack on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria, the president of the U.S. has recognized the annexation of the Syrian Golan," a regime foreign ministry source said, according to state news agency SANA. "Trump does not have the right and the legal authority to legitimize the occupation," he said.

The unnamed source also said the unlimited support the United States gives to Israel makes Washington the prime enemy of the Arabs, according to SANA.

Syrian regime Foreign Minister Walid Muallem also denounced the move, telling Syria TV that Trump's Golan move will isolate the U.S.

Syrian opposition figures also took a position against the decision, saying that it will cause great harm to the regional peace. Syria's opposition chief Nasr al-Hariri said Trump's decision will have negative implications on the region.

"It will lead to more violence and instability and it will have negative effects on efforts to engineer peace in the region," he said on Twitter.

The Syrian Turkmen Assembly (STA) became another opposition group that denounced the decision yesterday. Dubbing Trump's move as "illegitimate," the assembly said, "We, as representatives of Golan Turkmens, do not recognize this decision and will never."

"The Golan Heights, one of the ancient Turkmen regions in Syria, has been under Israeli occupation for 52 years. Today, these lands are sought to be usurped in violation of international law," it said in a statement.

The STA warned that "such impositions would further incite the existing conflicts" in the region.

The assembly called on the EU, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the U.N. General Assembly as well as the Turkic world to stand up against the decision.

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