U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wisc.) introduced companion resolutions on Tuesday urging the United States to officially recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
The bill emphasizes the strategic importance of Israeli control over the area, which the Jewish state captured in the 1967 Six-Day War, in protecting civilians from threats such as from Iran in Syria and Hezbollah in Lebanon. Israel annexed the region in 1981, a move that has not been recognized by the international community.
It also states that “it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of a peace agreement between Israel and Syria will be an Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights.”
The bill adds that “it is in the United States national security interest to ensure that Israel retains control of the Golan Heights [and that] the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad faces diplomatic and geopolitical consequences for its killing of civilians, the ethnic cleansing of Arab Sunnis, and the use of weapons of mass destruction.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has raised the issue of the Golan Heights during a meeting with U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton in January. Although the United States does not recognize Israeli control over the Golan Heights, it voted for the first time in November against an annual U.N. resolution condemning the Israeli position.
The measure is also sponsored by Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and Reps. Brian Mast (R-Fla.), Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.), Jim Banks (R-Ind.), Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), Tom Cole (R-Okla.), Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), Bill Johnson (R-Ohio), Scott Perry (R-Penn.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Mark Green (R-Tenn.), Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.), Ted Budd (R-N.C.), and Jody Hice (R-Ga.).
Although no Democrats are currently behind the bill, members such as House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) have voice support for this U.S. recognition in the past.
In December, Cotton and Cruz introduced a similar measure.