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Syria renews call for Israel to end occupation of Golan Heights, halt settlement activities

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Druze women residing in Majdal Shams in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights look to the other side of the border on February 14, 2019, during a protest against the 1981 Israeli annexation of the strategic plateau which the Tel Aviv regime captured from Syria during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. (Photo by AFP)

Syria’s permanent representative to the UN and other international organizations in Geneva has reiterated his country’s call for Israel to end its decades-long occupation of the Golan Heights, complaining that the Tel Aviv regime is making demographic changes to the fertile region and looting its resources.

Addressing the 45th session of the Human Rights Council on the state of the human rights in Palestine and other occupied Arab lands on Wednesday, Hussam Eddin Ala lashed out at Israel for maintaining its grip on Golan in defiance of United Nations resolutions.

“In spite of the repeated resolutions issued by the Human Rights Council and UN bodies which call for ending the Israeli occupation of the Syrian Golan, the Israeli entity continues its illegitimate procedures to impose its laws and administration on the occupied Syrian Golan in a flagrant violation of the UN Security Council resolutions, including resolution 497 for 1981,” he said.

Ala also blasted Israeli authorities for plundering the natural resources of the Golan Heights and violating Syrians’ rights to work, health, education and free movement by imposing arbitrary restrictions in the occupied region.

“The occupying forces continue to tighten the noose against the Golanese people in an attempt to seize their agriculture lands and to confiscate them and establish an agricultural situation to serve the Israeli settlers, in addition to restricting the Syrian citizens’ movement and preventing them from building on their lands in the framework of the Israeli schemes for demographic changes in the occupied Syrian Golan,” he added.

The Syrian diplomat further underlined the need for monitoring the Israeli violations of human rights in the Golan Heights and the occupied Palestinian lands, including the East Jerusalem al-Quds, saying the states supporting Tel Aviv are responsible for the continuation of the regime’s crimes.

“Syria condemns the continued expansion of Israeli settlements in the Syrian Golan and the occupied Palestinian territories, including Eastern Jerusalem [al-Quds], and calls for complete cessation of all forms of settlement” and other such unlawful activities, Ala noted.

The Damascus government, he added, denounces the Israeli crimes and human rights’ abuses in Palestine and calls for an end to the barbaric practices committed by the occupation forces against the Palestinian people.

The envoy also stressed Syria’s support for the Palestinians’ right to establish their independent state on the borders of June 4, 1967, with Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.

The Golan Heights will remain a Syrian land as guaranteed by international law and UN resolutions, particularly Security Council Resolution 497 (1981), he concluded.

Israel seized the Golan Heights from Syria in the closing stages of its 1967 Six-Day War with Arab countries, which also saw the regime occupy the Palestinian territories of the West Bank, East Jerusalem al-Quds and the Gaza Strip.

Tel Aviv unilaterally annexed the Golan Heights in 1981 in a move not recognized internationally.

Syria has repeatedly reaffirmed its sovereignty over the Golan Heights, saying the territory must be completely restored to its control.

In March 2019, US President Donald Trump signed a decree recognizing Israeli “sovereignty” over the occupied Golan during a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington.

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