As The Daily Wire has reported, Republican Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) have been actively calling for the United States to formally recognize Israel’s annexation of the strategically sensitive Golan Heights region. The Golan Heights, which Israel first acquired in 1967’s existential Six Day War defensive fight and formally annexed in 1981, has nonetheless languished since 1981 as a matter of formal U.S. recognition.
As The Daily Wire’s Hank Berrien reported on December 18, the joint Cruz/Cotton Senate resolution thoroughly traced the modern history of the Golan’s legal status, from 1967 through the bloody years-long civil war raging in Syria through the present day:
The resolution points out that “until 1967, Syria controlled the Golan Heights and used the topographical advantage it provided to attack Israeli troops and civilians”; that “in the Six Day War of 1967, Syria intensified its attacks against Israel from the Golan Heights, and Israel captured the area in a defensive war”; that “in October 1973, the Golan Heights provided Israel with critical strategic depth to repel a surprise attack by Syrian forces; that on September 1, 1975, President Gerald Ford offered a diplomatic assurance to Israel that ‘the U.S. will support the position that an overall settlement with Syria in the framework of a peace agreement must assure Israel’s security from attack from the Golan Heights'”; and that “‘the U.S. has not developed a final position on the borders. Should it do so it will give great weight to Israel’s position that any peace agreement with Syria must be predicated on Israel remaining on the Golan Heights.'” …Then Cruz and Cotton get down to the current situation, asserting that “since 2011, Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad has killed hundreds of thousands of Syrian civilians, including with weapons of mass destruction, and has pursued an ethnic cleansing campaign against Syrian Sunnis,” and that “Iran has used the war in Syria to establish a military presence in the Levant, including thousands of Iranian troops and proxies, and now seeks to create territorial corridors that solidify its control, expand its activities, establish a permanent military presence, and provide arms to its terrorist proxies.”
In January, as ynetnews and The Daily Wire both reported, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made his pitch for formal U.S. recognition directly to National Security Advisor John Bolton. At a joint press conference with Bolton, Netanyahu stated, “Tomorrow, if whether permits, we will go up to the Golan Heights — it is tremendously important for our security. When you are there, you’ll be able to understand perfectly why we will never leave the Golan Heights and why it is important that all countries recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.”
Sens. Cruz and Cotton followed the Netanyahu-Bolton press conference by reiterating, in a joint statement, their call for formal U.S. recognition of Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights. The statement read:
Israel’s northern border has become increasingly dangerous in recent weeks with the discovery of Hezbollah’s terror tunnels and Bashar al Assad’s continued efforts to consolidate control of Syria with the assistance of Iranian shock troops. Responding to the threat posed by Iran and its proxies requires ensuring that Israel can defend its territory and its citizens from attacks. To support Israel’s right to self-defense, Washington should take the long overdue step of affirming Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
Now, some veteran Democratic lawmakers are also coming around to provide Cruz and Cotton with bipartisan support. As Andrew Kugle of The Washington Free Beacon reported, New York Democratic congressmen Jerry Nadler and Carolyn Maloney have both indicated their tepid, cautious support. “The only thing the Golan has ever been used for by the Syrians is to bombard Israel,” Nadler toldJewish Insider. “They can’t have that again. It’s unsafe.”
Similarly, Maloney indicated her stance that, “If our [Democratic] leadership supports it, I don’t see what the problem is.”
The Golan Heights recognition issue has the potential to drive a wedge through Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) House Democratic caucus. While older, more establishment-oriented Democratic members such as Nadler and Maloney often default to support for pro-Israel policies, the caucus has been riven by the emergence of anti-Israel “progressive” stars such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN) — the latter two of whom openly support the anti-Semitic “Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions” movement against the Jewish state.