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Abbas, Hamas slam Trump’s ‘illegitimate’ Golan decision

Decision ‘contravenes international law, legitimacy’, Palestinian presidency declares

Aness Suheil Barghoti, Mahmoud Barakat   | 25.03.2019
Abbas, Hamas slam Trump’s ‘illegitimate’ Golan decision


Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Gaza-based resistance faction Hamas have both slammed U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision on Monday to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Syrian Golan Heights.

In a statement released by his office and carried by Palestine’s WAFA news agency, Abbas condemned Trump’s recent decisions on both Jerusalem and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, which, he said, “contravene international law and legitimacy”.

“There is no legitimacy that can override UN Security Council resolutions, the UN General Assembly or the [2202] Arab Peace Initiative,” Abbas said.

He also decried recent Israeli escalations against the Hamas-run Gaza Strip.

Earlier Monday, Trump officially recognized Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Syrian Golan Heights.

He signed a presidential proclamation to this effect at a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House, describing the occupied Syrian territory as “a potential launching ground for attacks against Israel”.

Meanwhile, Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of Hamas in Gaza, said the Golan Heights would “forever remain an integral part of Syria”.

In a statement, Haniyeh said: “Hamas stands by Syria in the face of this American arrogance, which does not respect custom or international law, and which has also affected the twin issues of Jerusalem and [Palestinian] refugees.”

Israel continues to occupy roughly two-thirds of the wider Golan Heights region, which it seized from Syria during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War.

In 1981, Israel formally annexed the territory in a move unanimously rejected at the time by the UN Security Council.

UN Security Council Resolution 497 (1981) reads in part: “The Israeli decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights is null and void and without international legal effect.”

The resolution goes on to call for Israel’s withdrawal from the territory.

On Monday, the UN said the Golan’s legal status would remain unchanged -- despite Trump’s announcement -- and would still be considered an “occupied territory” under international law.

*Writing by Anees Barghothi and Mahmoud Barakat

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