Israel Will Never Give Golan Heights to Syria, Netanyahu Vows

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel led a cabinet meeting in the Israeli-controlled portion of the Golan Heights on Sunday, calling on the world to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the conquered territory and vowing that Israel would never give it back to Syria.Mr. Netanyahu made his remarks at what his office described as a “festive” meeting of the cabinet in one of the Jewish settlements on the strategic plateau that Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war. Israel later effectively annexed the Golan Heights in a move that was never internationally recognized.Officially, the occasion for holding the first formal cabinet meeting in the territory was to mark a year since the formation of Mr. Netanyahu’s current right-leaning government. Yet the timing, according to experts, was more likely dictated by Israeli concerns arising from the recently resumed talks in Geneva over Syria’s future — or hopes that the talks might present an opportunity for Israel.“The Golan Heights have been an integral part of the land of Israel since ancient times; the dozens of ancient synagogues in the area around us attest to that,” Mr. Netanyahu said at the start of the meeting. “And the Golan is an integral part of the state of Israel in the new era.”


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