Human Rights Watch (HRW) has slammed the Trump administration for promising to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. It said that “the decision by the Trump administration to deny the reality of Israel’s occupation of the Golan Heights would demonstrate disregard for the protections due to the Syrian population under international humanitarian law.”
“President Trump appears poised to drive a wrecking ball through the international law that protects the population of the occupied Golan Heights,” said Eric Goldstein, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “If Trump follows through, it may embolden other occupying states to double down on their own land grabs, settlements, and plunder of resources.”
“Whether it be occupied Crimea, the West Bank, or Golan, the same principles protecting civilians apply,” Goldstein said. “Trump can’t wipe those away by decree.”
A state, including the occupier, cannot undo these protections and duties by a unilateral declaration, Human Rights Watch said.
“Particularly amid continuing, serious rights abuses by Israel in the Golan Heights, Syrian residents need the continued protections under the law of occupation, including the prohibition against building settlements and extracting natural resources for the benefit of the occupier.”
The United Nations, meanwhile, has reiterated its commitment to the resolutions of the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly stating the occupation of the Syrian Golan Heights is illegal under international law.
The UN Human Rights Council has adopted many resolutions reaffirming its this position, the latest of which was on March 22 when the Council stressed that the Golan Heights is “occupied” under international law.
The Israeli entity occupied the Golan Heights, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula during the 1967’s Six Day War. As a result, tens of thousands of Syrians fled their homes in the Golan Heights to other parts of Syria and have been banned from returning since then. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Agencies)