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Congressman urges US to recognize Syria’s Golan as Israeli territory

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu (3rd R) is seen during a tour in the occupied Golan Heights, April 11, 2016.

A member of Congress has urged the US to recognize Syria’s Golan Heights as an Israeli territory after Washington's relocation of its embassy to Jerusalem al-Quds last week.

Republican Representative Ron DeSantis said in an interview published on Israel’s Walla news website on Sunday that he had brought the proposal before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, of which he is a member.

Israel seized the Golan Heights from Syria during the 1967 Six-Day War and has continued to occupy two-thirds of the strategically-important territory ever since, in a move that has never been recognized by the international community.

Merkava Mark IV tanks are deployed next to cows near the Syrian border in the Israel-occupied Golan Heights on May 10, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

The Israeli regime has built tens of illegal settlements in the area since its occupation and has used the territory to carry out a number of military operations against the Syrian government.

A view of Bnei Yehuda, an Israeli settlement built in the occupied Syrian territory, in the southern Golan Heights 

DeSantis said he had suggested the proposal as an amendment to a chapter on Syria in the US military budget.

DeSantis also said the proposal is a natural follow-up to the US embassy’s relocation from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem al-Quds last Monday.

He noted that as the embassy move would help take Jerusalem al-Quds off the negotiating table, the US recognition of Israel’s claim to the Golan would clarify it has no intention of forcing Tel Aviv to relinquish the territory.

Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla. testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, May 24, 2016. (Photo by AP)

Last December, Trump announced his decision to recognize Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s so-called capital and relocate the US embassy from Tel Aviv to the city, breaking with decades of American policy.

His decision infuriated the Palestinians, who declared that Washington could no longer play a role as a mediator in the so-called Middle East peace process. It also sparked outrage across the Muslim world and even among Washington's Arab allies.

On December 21, the United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly in favor of a resolution that calls on the US to withdraw its controversial recognition of Jerusalem al-Quds as the Israeli capital.

At least 65 Palestinians were killed and more than 2,700 others wounded by Israeli fire along the fence between the Gaza Strip and the occupied territories on the eve of the 70th anniversary of Nakba Day (Day of Catastrophe).

The occasion coincided this year with the relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to the occupied city of Jerusalem al-Quds.

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