The Golan Heights Should Stay Israeli Forever

(Foreign Policy) Steven A. Cook - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reportedly been lobbying the Trump administration on the idea of formally acknowledging Israel's 1981 annexation of the Golan Heights. But whether Washington recognizes Israel's annexation or not, the Israelis are never withdrawing from the Golan Heights - conquered in the June 1967 war - nor should they. Above all, the Golan does not require the control of a large hostile population, as the 27,000 Druze on the Golan Heights have accommodated themselves peacefully to Israel's rule. The Golan Heights multiplies Israel's force in the event of a war, and is an unrivaled intelligence-gathering platform. From its posts atop the Golan Heights, the IDF can look and listen in on the valley below that leads to Damascus, only 45 miles away. There is no question that holding onto the plateau is superior to withdrawing and the uncertainty of an agreement with the Syrian regime. In the wake of the Syrian civil war, Iran and its expeditionary force, Hizbullah, are a threat to Israel's security. The Golan Heights is critical to keeping both from achieving their ends. The writer is a senior fellow for Middle East and Africa studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

2019-01-17 00:00:00

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