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US national security advisor: No new policy on Golan Heights recognition

“Obviously, we understand the Israeli claim that it has annexed the Golan Heights—we understand their position—but there’s no change in the U.S. position for now.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton at the Prime Minister's Residence in Jerusalem.  
Credit: GPO/Haim Zach.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton at the Prime Minister's Residence in Jerusalem. Credit: GPO/Haim Zach.

During his recent visit to Israel, U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton told Reuters that despite strong Israeli pressure on the United States to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, the American policy will not be changing at the moment.

“I’ve heard the idea being suggested but there’s no discussion of it, no decision within the U.S. government,” Bolton told Reuters. “Obviously, we understand the Israeli claim that it has annexed the Golan Heights—we understand their position—but there’s no change in the U.S. position for now.”

After facing repeated attacks from the territory, Israel took control of the Golan Heights from Syria during the 1967 Six-Day War. Owing to its strategic importance, Israel effectively annexed the Golan Heights in 1981.

In his interview with Reuters, Bolton did not indicate that the Trump administration saw Palestinian statehood as an answer to conflict between the Palestinian Authority and Israel.

“I think it’s been the U.S. view for a long time that ultimately Israelis and Palestinians are going to have to agree on this,” he said. “Nobody’s going to impose a peace in that respect.”

Bolton also reinforced America’s stoppage of funds to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which was established in 1948 to provide aid to Arabs displaced by Israel’s War of Independence and which has since extended its service to most Palestinian Arabs.

“UNRWA is a failed mechanism,” said Bolton. “It violates standard international law on the status of refugees. UNRWA’s program is the only one in history based on the assumption that refugee status is hereditary, and I think it is long overdue that we have taken steps to reduce funding.”

“Much of UNRWA’s expenses really go to perpetuating the refugee status of the Palestinian people, and I think that’s a mistake,” added Bolton. “I think it’s a mistake from a humanitarian point of view … a perpetuation of an unnatural status.”

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