President Trump Recognizes Golan Heights as Israeli Territory

 

Yesterday, the President signed a proclamation recognizing the Golan Heights as part of the State of Israel. (Here is the declaration, if you’re interested.)

No, I’m not getting tired of the winning!

The Golan Heights is a region of about 500 square miles, in the extreme northeast of Israel. Israel seized the territory from Syria in the Six-Day War of 1967. Israel effectively annexed the territory, under its internal law, in 1981, but this has not been recognized internationally and was declared “null and void and without international legal effect” by a UN Security Council resolution later in 1981.

This is plainly within the President’s power. In 2015, the Supreme Court held that: “The President’s exclusive recognition power encompasses the authority to acknowledge, in a formal sense, the legitimacy of other states and governments, including their territorial bounds.” Zivotofsky v. Kerry (here, p. 13).

Ironically, the Zivotofsky case upheld the authority of the Obama administration to refuse to comply with an Act of Congress requiring that the place of birth on a US passport be listed as “Jerusalem, Israel” (for a person born there, obviously). The Obama administration wanted to list the place of birth as simply “Jerusalem” — no Israel. It was this case that settled the question of President Trump’s authority to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel previously, and to recognize the Golan Heights as part of Israel yesterday.

There are 28 comments.

  1. Western Chauvinist Member

    Yay! More winning!!

    • #1
    • March 26, 2019, at 4:06 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  2. Randy Webster Member

    Arizona Patriot: by a UN Security Council resolution later in 1981.

    How did that get past a US veto?

    • #2
    • March 26, 2019, at 4:12 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  3. Jim McConnell Member

    Isn’t it fun to see Obama’s over-reaching continually come back to bite him? 

    • #3
    • March 26, 2019, at 4:18 PM PDT
    • 10 likes
  4. Mike H Coolidge

    As a radical libertarian I feel like I am supposed to be critical of Israel, but I can’t help but be endeared by how much of a badass Bibi is.

    • #4
    • March 26, 2019, at 4:24 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  5. Barfly Member

    President Trump has now fulfilled two of my three hopes regarding our foreign policy vis a vis Israel.

    Mike H (View Comment):

    As a radical libertarian I feel like I am supposed to be critical of Israel, but I can’t help but be endeared by how much of a bad ass Bibi is.

    Benjamin Netanyahu is the icing on the cake. That guy hung in there thru the Obama administration’s every effort to get him out of the way so they could make his country submit to savages, and I hope President Trump is part of his reward for that. It makes me smile every time I see the President supporting him.

    • #5
    • March 26, 2019, at 5:02 PM PDT
    • 11 likes
  6. Western Chauvinist Member

    Barfly (View Comment):

    President Trump has now fulfilled two of my three hopes regarding our foreign policy vis a vis Israel.

    Mike H (View Comment):

    As a radical libertarian I feel like I am supposed to be critical of Israel, but I can’t help but be endeared by how much of a bad ass Bibi is.

    Benjamin Netanyahu is the icing on the cake. That guy hung in there thru the Obama administration’s every effort to get him out of the way so they could make his country submit to savages, and I hope President Trump is part of his reward for that. It makes me smile every time I see the President supporting him.

    What is number three?

    • #6
    • March 26, 2019, at 5:06 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  7. Gary Robbins Reagan

    I agree that it is a military necessity for Israel to control the Golan Heights, given their strategic situation. 

    What concerns me is that according to Wikipedia, “During the war, between 80,000[93] and 131,000[94] Syrians fled or were driven from the Heights and around 7,000 remained in the Israeli-occupied territory.[94] Israeli sources and the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants reported that much of the local population of 100,000 fled as a result of the war, whereas the Syrian government stated that a large proportion of it was expelled.[95] Israel has not allowed former residents to return, citing security reasons.[96] ”

    I take the above with a grain of salt, but wonder if there is an accommodation possible? Or am I being naive?

     

    • #7
    • March 26, 2019, at 5:40 PM PDT
    • Like
  8. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    I agree that it is a military necessity for Israel to control the Golan Heights, given their strategic situation.

    What concerns me is that according to Wikipedia, “During the war, between 80,000[93] and 131,000[94] Syrians fled or were driven from the Heights and around 7,000 remained in the Israeli-occupied territory.[94] Israeli sources and the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants reported that much of the local population of 100,000 fled as a result of the war, whereas the Syrian government stated that a large proportion of it was expelled.[95] Israel has not allowed former residents to return, citing security reasons.[96]

    I take the above with a grain of salt, but wonder if there is an accommodation possible? Or am I being naive?

     

    They have a home in their home country, Syria. I think it’s a really bad idea to bring Syrians into Israel. One Gaza is bad enough.

    Look, this stuff happened in 1968. 50 years ago. A mere 23 years before that, huge German territories were taken away and given to Poland and Russia. 

    There’s a serious problem with the post-WWII order, in which conquest is supposedly prohibited under international law. There are still wars, and territory is occupied, but there’s no resolution. This is not just a problem in and around Israel. India and Pakistan still dispute Kashmir.

    • #8
    • March 26, 2019, at 5:55 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  9. Gary Robbins Reagan

    Arizona Patriot (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    I agree that it is a military necessity for Israel to control the Golan Heights, given their strategic situation.

    What concerns me is that according to Wikipedia, “During the war, between 80,000[93] and 131,000[94] Syrians fled or were driven from the Heights and around 7,000 remained in the Israeli-occupied territory.[94] Israeli sources and the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants reported that much of the local population of 100,000 fled as a result of the war, whereas the Syrian government stated that a large proportion of it was expelled.[95] Israel has not allowed former residents to return, citing security reasons.[96]

    I take the above with a grain of salt, but wonder if there is an accommodation possible? Or am I being naive?

     

    They have a home in their home country, Syria. I think it’s a really bad idea to bring Syrians into Israel. One Gaza is bad enough.

    Look, this stuff happened in 1968. 50 years ago. A mere 23 years before that, huge German territories were taken away and given to Poland and Russia.

    There’s a serious problem with the post-WWII order, in which conquest is supposedly prohibited under international law. There are still wars, and territory is occupied, but there’s no resolution. This is not just a problem in and around Israel. India and Pakistan still dispute Kashmir.

    You are probably right. If Syria had won, I don’t think that they would have been too accommodating to the Israelis. 

    • #9
    • March 26, 2019, at 5:59 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  10. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Arizona Patriot: by a UN Security Council resolution later in 1981.

    How did that get past a US veto?

    According to Wikipedia, the vote was 15-0 in favor of the resolution, with the US voting. It was December 17, 1981, so Reagan was President.

    This is a direct comparison in which Trump did the right thing, while Reagan did not. I’m a huge fan of Reagan, but in this instance, Trump did better.

    As I noted in the OP, the exclusive power of the President to recognize territorial limits was only formally recognized by SCOTUS in 2015 (though it was the practice before that). Reagan might have been worried about a possible court challenge — during the Burger Court, before any of Reagan’s appointees were on the bench. I do shudder to think of what Brennan, Marshall, and Blackmun might have decided.

    • #10
    • March 26, 2019, at 6:00 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  11. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    Arizona Patriot (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    I agree that it is a military necessity for Israel to control the Golan Heights, given their strategic situation.

    What concerns me is that according to Wikipedia, “During the war, between 80,000[93] and 131,000[94] Syrians fled or were driven from the Heights and around 7,000 remained in the Israeli-occupied territory.[94] Israeli sources and the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants reported that much of the local population of 100,000 fled as a result of the war, whereas the Syrian government stated that a large proportion of it was expelled.[95] Israel has not allowed former residents to return, citing security reasons.[96]

    I take the above with a grain of salt, but wonder if there is an accommodation possible? Or am I being naive?

     

    They have a home in their home country, Syria. I think it’s a really bad idea to bring Syrians into Israel. One Gaza is bad enough.

    Look, this stuff happened in 1968. 50 years ago. A mere 23 years before that, huge German territories were taken away and given to Poland and Russia.

    There’s a serious problem with the post-WWII order, in which conquest is supposedly prohibited under international law. There are still wars, and territory is occupied, but there’s no resolution. This is not just a problem in and around Israel. India and Pakistan still dispute Kashmir.

    You are probably right. If Syria had won, I don’t think that they would have been too accommodating to the Israelis.

    No kidding.

    I think that this misguided modern “international law” is the problem that has caused the Palestinian-Israeli conflict to be a festering sore for my entire lifetime. Things need to be settled. The loser needs to yield — or the victor doesn’t have to stop. I understand that this has terrible effects on civilians, but this is unavoidable in war. It is worse to allow a conflict to drag on forever.

    It’s as if we were trying to practice law without any doctrine of res judicata.

     

    • #11
    • March 26, 2019, at 7:17 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  12. DonG Coolidge

    Mike H (View Comment):
    As a radical libertarian I feel like I am supposed to be critical of Israel, but I can’t help but be endeared by how much of a badass Bibi is.

    Israel is the most libertarian country in the region, why be critical of that?

    • #12
    • March 26, 2019, at 7:27 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  13. DonG Coolidge

    Arizona Patriot (View Comment):
    There’s a serious problem with the post-WWII order, in which conquest is supposedly prohibited under international law. There are still wars, and territory is occupied, but there’s no resolution. This is not just a problem in and around Israel. India and Pakistan still dispute Kashmir.

    Yup. Africa and the Middle East are made up of arbitrary borders drawn up by European colonists. Now the UN fights (with our blood and treasure) to enforce these unnatural borders. Sticky borders are a problem, if they are wrong from the start.

    • #13
    • March 26, 2019, at 7:31 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  14. Henry Racette Contributor

    President Trump’s support of Israel has been one of the most satisfying, and not entirely expected, achievements of his administration.

    • #14
    • March 26, 2019, at 7:47 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  15. Mike H Coolidge

    DonG (View Comment):

    Mike H (View Comment):
    As a radical libertarian I feel like I am supposed to be critical of Israel, but I can’t help but be endeared by how much of a badass Bibi is.

    Israel is the most libertarian country in the region, why be critical of that?

    Right, there’s plenty to love about Israel. Obviously there’s no reason to be critical of their libertarian leanings. The only reason I can think of to be critical is from an idealistic military restraint position, not to imply Israel doesn’t show tremendous restraint. Part of me just wants Israel to just take over all Palestinian territories, if for no other reason than it would make the borders look real clean, lol. Kinda wish they didn’t feel the need to give up the Sinai peninsula either.

    • #15
    • March 26, 2019, at 8:04 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  16. Caryn Member

    Here’s an article about the Jewish ties to the Golan that predate modern Syria’s existence as a country and forward. One point not often mentioned, excerpted from the linked article:

    “Jewish life briefly returned to the Golan in 1891 when Jewish pioneers began to purchase and farm land in the region. Baron Edmond de Rothschild bought 18,000 acres in the area of Ramat Magshimim, in the Golan. Jews built five small farms in the Golan area’s verdant hills. The Jewish pioneers’ farming experiment came to an end in 1898 when local Turkish authorities evicted the Jews and seized their land. At the end of World War I, Britain took control of the area; in 1923 they gave the Golan to France, along with the territories of present-day Syria and Lebanon. In 1947, Syria forced Jews out of the Golan Heights, and used the area to shell Israeli towns and farms that were in the sights of the towering hills of the Golan instead.”

    Note the bolded portions. This is typical of the land “exchanges” throughout the Zionist period and till today. Jews purchase land, Arabs seize it in one war, Jews take it back in the next, Arabs claim the Jews are stealing their land. This is very much the case in the area commonly called the west bank where the king of Jordan made “gifts” of large parcels of land to absentee landlords during the Jordanian occupation. These areas are also called “Arab land” when Jews build, even though there are records of the purchases by Jews prior to 1948. And then there are the Jewish refugees from Arab countries…

    • #16
    • March 26, 2019, at 8:15 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  17. James Lileks Contributor

    According to Lefty Twitter, where gender-fluid unicorns expel a ceaseless stream of rainbow-hued Skittles from their comely hindquarters, Trump did this because there is oil in the Golan and wants the support of the Fundies, who hate Jews but want Jesus to come back soon and be happy. (And convert the Jews.) 

    Those who don’t smear their keyboards with bat guano before commencing the day’s snide screeds say it was a bump to Netanyahu, and they’re shocked that the US would recognize a reality to benefit an ally, particularly during this sensitive time when negotiations require the US to be seen as a fair partner in peace. This presumes, as always, that if the US voted to censure Golan “occupation,” Hamas rocket men in Gaza would stand down. No, my brother. Now is not the time. Finally, there is a glimmer of hope. Peace may yet be within our grasp. 

    What negotiations, you ask? You know. The Peace Process. 

    • #17
    • March 26, 2019, at 10:09 PM PDT
    • 15 likes
  18. OkieSailor Member

    Arizona Patriot (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    Arizona Patriot (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    I agree that it is a military necessity for Israel to control the Golan Heights, given their strategic situation.

    What concerns me is that according to Wikipedia, “During the war, between 80,000[93] and 131,000[94] Syrians fled or were driven from the Heights and around 7,000 remained in the Israeli-occupied territory.[94] Israeli sources and the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants reported that much of the local population of 100,000 fled as a result of the war, whereas the Syrian government stated that a large proportion of it was expelled.[95] Israel has not allowed former residents to return, citing security reasons.[96]

    I take the above with a grain of salt, but wonder if there is an accommodation possible? Or am I being naive?

     

    They have a home in their home country, Syria. I think it’s a really bad idea to bring Syrians into Israel. One Gaza is bad enough.

    Look, this stuff happened in 1968. 50 years ago. A mere 23 years before that, huge German territories were taken away and given to Poland and Russia.

    There’s a serious problem with the post-WWII order, in which conquest is supposedly prohibited under international law. There are still wars, and territory is occupied, but there’s no resolution. This is not just a problem in and around Israel. India and Pakistan still dispute Kashmir.

    You are probably right. If Syria had won, I don’t think that they would have been too accommodating to the Israelis.

    No kidding.

    I think that this misguided modern “international law” is the problem that has caused the Palestinian-Israeli conflict to be a festering sore for my entire lifetime. Things need to be settled. The loser needs to yield — or the victor doesn’t have to stop. I understand that this has terrible effects on civilians, but this is unavoidable in war. It is worse to allow a conflict to drag on forever.

    It’s as if we were trying to practice law without any doctrine of res judicata.

     

    So Doc what are you going to do about my cancer?

    Well we’ll keep an eye on it and when it grows well trim it back . Don’t worry well make sure it doesn’t get any larger than it is now!!

    Sounds like a great plan, right?

    • #18
    • March 27, 2019, at 4:01 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  19. ctlaw Coolidge

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):
    What concerns me is that according to Wikipedia, “During the war, between 80,000[93] and 131,000[94] Syrians fled or were driven from the Heights and around 7,000 remained in the Israeli-occupied territory.[94] Israeli sources and the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants reported that much of the local population of 100,000 fled as a result of the war, whereas the Syrian government stated that a large proportion of it was expelled.[95] Israel has not allowed former residents to return, citing security reasons.[96] ”

    Gary, That’s clearly bogus. I read the report at note 94. Quneitra, the population center cited, is not occupied by Israel. Syria has kept the area depopulated for military/political purposes.

    • #19
    • March 27, 2019, at 5:10 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  20. Western Chauvinist Member

    James Lileks (View Comment):
    What negotiations, you ask? You know. The Peace Process. 

    I laughed so hard last night listening to the “news” as they repeated the old — “critics say this is a mistake for the stability of the region and for the future of The Peace Process.” 

    Man, I wish I could see those unicorns! But, instead, all I see is the Trump administration killing ISIS and disappearing their “caliphate.” I guess I’ll have to be satisfied with that magic.

     

    • #20
    • March 27, 2019, at 6:49 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  21. Henry Racette Contributor

    James Lileks (View Comment):
    where gender-fluid unicorns expel a ceaseless stream of rainbow-hued Skittles from their comely hindquarters

    Do you labor over stuff like this, or does it just pop out? I envy writers for whom this kind of thing comes naturally and without the benefit of pharmacology.

    • #21
    • March 27, 2019, at 6:53 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  22. Barfly Member

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    Barfly (View Comment):

    President Trump has now fulfilled two of my three hopes regarding our foreign policy vis a vis Israel.

    Mike H (View Comment):

    As a radical libertarian I feel like I am supposed to be critical of Israel, but I can’t help but be endeared by how much of a bad ass Bibi is.

    Benjamin Netanyahu is the icing on the cake. That guy hung in there thru the Obama administration’s every effort to get him out of the way so they could make his country submit to savages, and I hope President Trump is part of his reward for that. It makes me smile every time I see the President supporting him.

    What is number three?

    Give them space and cover to finally deal humanely with the (self-)defeated “Palestinians.” 

    • #22
    • March 27, 2019, at 6:56 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  23. Western Chauvinist Member

    Barfly (View Comment):
    Give them space and cover to finally deal humanely with the (self-)defeated “Palestinians.” 

    Yehehesss — I’ve been saying for years I’d like to take the manacles off Israel’s foreign policy. Let them do what they think is right for themselves and their neighbors! 

    • #23
    • March 27, 2019, at 7:16 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  24. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    James Lileks (View Comment):
    where gender-fluid unicorns expel a ceaseless stream of rainbow-hued Skittles from their comely hindquarters

    Do you labor over stuff like this, or does it just pop out? I envy writers for whom this kind of thing comes naturally and without the benefit of pharmacology.

    I’m pretty sure that the good Mr. Lileks was inspired by the squatty potty commercial:

    • #24
    • March 27, 2019, at 12:07 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  25. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    According to Lefty Twitter, where gender-fluid unicorns expel a ceaseless stream of rainbow-hued Skittles from their comely hindquarters, Trump did this because there is oil in the Golan and wants the support of the Fundies, who hate Jews but want Jesus to come back soon and be happy. (And convert the Jews.)

    Those who don’t smear their keyboards with bat guano before commencing the day’s snide screeds say it was a bump to Netanyahu, and they’re shocked that the US would recognize a reality to benefit an ally, particularly during this sensitive time when negotiations require the US to be seen as a fair partner in peace. This presumes, as always, that if the US voted to censure Golan “occupation,” Hamas rocket men in Gaza would stand down. No, my brother. Now is not the time. Finally, there is a glimmer of hope. Peace may yet be within our grasp.

    What negotiations, you ask? You know. The Peace Process.

    And it’s been a “sensitive time” in the negotiations since the Six-Day War itself in 1967, it not earlier.

    • #25
    • March 27, 2019, at 12:10 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  26. Manny Member

    I don’t get tired of winning either!! This is fantastic and Trump is probably the only Republican out of the Presidential candidates two years ago who has the testes to do it. Others may talk a good game, but Donald Trump walks the walk when he can. In the future we have a standard by which we judge Republican Presidents.

    • #26
    • March 27, 2019, at 1:40 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  27. Stina Member

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    Barfly (View Comment):
    Give them space and cover to finally deal humanely with the (self-)defeated “Palestinians.”

    Yehehesss — I’ve been saying for years I’d like to take the manacles off Israel’s foreign policy. Let them do what they think is right for themselves and their neighbors!

    That’s just so… nationalist… can’t do that. Ok I need to go home. I’m loitering in chick fil a’s parking lot…

    • #27
    • March 27, 2019, at 8:29 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  28. James Lileks Contributor

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    Do you labor over stuff like this, or does it just pop out?

    Like the Skittles themselves, I just unclench and let the magic happen. ;)

    • #28
    • March 27, 2019, at 8:54 PM PDT
    • 5 likes