Jerusalem, Oct 9 (IANS) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has urged the international community to recognize the Israeli annexation of the Golan Heights, a Syrian territory seized by Israel 51 years ago.
“Israel on the Golan Heights is a fact that the international community must recognize and as long as it depends on me, the Golan Heights will always remain under Israeli sovereignty,” Netanyahu said on Monday during an inauguration of a synagogue in the Golan Heights, Xinhua reported.
According to Netanyahu, Iran and its proxy, the Lebanese-based military of Hezbollah, are “trying constantly to establish a force opposite us that would operate against the Golan Heights and the Galilee.”
He said that the Israeli presence in the Golan is “thwarting” Iran’s ambitions of expansion and “is a guarantee for stability” in the region.
He also reiterated that Russian President Vladimir Putin has agreed to meet with him. He said he intends to discuss the Golan Heights and Iran with Putin in their meeting that will be held “soon.”
“I know that President Putin understands my commitment to the security of Israel and I know that he also understands the importance that I ascribe to the Golan Heights,” he said.
Netanyahu will also discuss with Putin the bilateral security coordination, which was put into question amidst the tensions between the two countries following the downing of a Russian plane in Syria.
“I decided with President Putin on the important security coordination between the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) and the Russian military, and of course together we have developed good relations between Russia and Israel,” Netanyahu said.
The meeting will be the first time the two leaders would meet since a Russian reconnaissance plane was mistakenly downed last month by anti-aircraft Syrian fire when Israel was conducting an airstrike on Syria’s Latakia province at the same time. The plane’s 15 crew members were killed.
The Russian Defence Ministry said Israel holds the entire responsibility for the incident. According to the Ministry, the Israeli air force provided misleading information about the location of its airstrikes on sites in Syria, preventing the Russian aircraft which was in the area from flying to a safe zone.
Israel seized the Golan Heights in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed it shortly later, claiming it as part of Israel, in a move never recognised internationally.