United States President has declared that US will recognize Israel’s Sovereignty over the disputed Golan Heights.This move will be a major shift in US policy towards the Israeli-occupied territory.
Golan Heights is located in the southwest tip of Syria.It shares a border with Lebanon,Jordan and Israel.The area is not densely populated.Today more than 40,000 people live in the Golan.Majority of the members are from Druze faith who are mostly citizens of Syria.The other half are Jewish settlers who have moved in since Israel captured the territory.
Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in a 1967 war.Syria tried to regain the Heights in the 1973 Middle East war,but was defeated.In 1981,Israel’s parliament passed a law which effectively annexed the territory.But the international community did not recognise the move and maintained that the Golan was occupied Syrian territory.
Since 2000,Israel and Syria held talks over a possible return of the Golan and a peace agreement.But the negotiations collapsed and subsequent talks also failed after the 2011 conflict in Syria.
Currently,United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) is stationed in camps and observation posts along the Golan Heights.They are supported by military observers of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO).
Last year the U.S had moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and backed Israel’s assertion that the city is its capital.After U.S had moved the embassy,Palestinian leaders had put off the the talks with the US administration.