Last week, reports circulated that the U.S. government had decided to revoke the previous administration’s recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. The reports turned out to be inaccurate, but underscore the importance of securing a reaffirmation from the current White House. Dore Gold writes:
The most important U.S. statement on policy with respect to the Golan Heights was contained in the 1975 letter from President Gerald Ford to Prime Minister Yitzḥak Rabin, which stated that “the U.S. has not developed a final position on the borders. Should it do so, it will give great weight to Israel’s position that any peace agreement with Syria must be predicated on Israel remaining on the Golan Heights.”
What made the Ford letter so significant was that it provided the basis for the formulation of U.S. policy by subsequent administrations. . . . American assurances on the Golan Heights were bipartisan and in many respects set the stage for finally recognizing Israeli sovereignty on March 25, 2019.
The new U.S. approach to the Golan Heights was not formally locked in by means of a bilateral treaty. . . . Clearly, further diplomacy is required between Jerusalem and Washington. Perhaps the issue can be settled before the first summit meeting between President Biden and Prime Minister Bennett.
Remember, Iran is seeking to encircle Israel with its Shiite militias—in Lebanon, in new bases within Syria, and eventually in Jordan. If U.S. policy over the Golan Heights is interpreted as changing, that might even invite a conflict that neither the U.S. nor Israel is seeking.
Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
More about: Golan Heights, Joseph Biden, Naftali Bennett, US-Israel relations