Israeli media was abuzz on Friday after American media reported that the Biden Administration was reversing former US President Donald Trump’shistoric recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
Already back in February, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken hinted that such a move was coming when he refused to answer a reporter’s question over whether or not the Biden Administration would honor Trump’s policy shift.
The Golan Heights “remains of real importance to Israel’s security,” said Blinken at the time, but he would not confirm the strategic plateau’s official legal status vis-a-vis US foreign policy.
Biden’s about-face on Golan was reported by The Washington Free Beacon. A State Department spokesman told the outlet that the current administration still supports Israel’s control of the Golan. But he also suggested that should the situation in Syria change, the Golan could be back on the negotiating table.
In other words, Israel is not the sovereign in the Golan Heights.
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who played a major role in America’s previous recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan, said the Biden Administration was being short-sighted.
“Suggesting that if [the Assad regime] falls and the Iranians leave Syria, the Golan Heights should be given to Syria misreads history and misreads the eternal security needs of the state of Israel,” he told the Free Beacon.
Israelis almost couldn’t believe it when Trump followed up his recognition of a united Jerusalem as Israel’s capital with recognition of their sovereignty over the Golan. It was almost too good to be true. And there were always concerns that a future US administration would rescind the order.
Internal Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev of the left-wing Labor Party insisted that “Trump’s recognition didn’t make the Golan any more Israeli than it already was, and Biden’s decision won’t make it any less.”