Trump's endorsement of Israeli sovereignty over Golan Heights a vote for reality

Yesterday, President Trump pulled off one of his trademark policy surprises via Twitter and characteristically managed to outrage all the right people.

The president recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights almost 52 years after that nation acquired control over the vital escarpment overlooking much of Northern Israel during the Six-Day War.



In that armed conflict, Israel was defending itself against the combined forces of its Arab neighbors Egypt, Jordan, and Syria, who were seeking annihilation of the Jewish State.

The key fact is that control of the Golan Heights means control over the northern part of Israel, for it provides an ideal gun platform from which to shell Israel.  The view from the Heights is breathtaking, showing how much territory is a sitting duck for any hostile power — for example, the ruthless Assad regime of Syria that still claims sovereignty over the gun platform.

Photo credit: Yuri Loginov.

Photo credit: Masterpjz9.

The ability to claim legitimacy among Arabs by shelling Israel would be a lure for any renegade Arab dictatorship that cannot be dismissed.  Israel must control Golan in order to survive.  That is reality.  All of the objections are based on theory, airy grand theory.  President Trump's recognition of Israeli sovereignty merely recognizes Israel's right to survive.

Yet outrage is common among foreign diplomats, American pundits, and lovers of the United Nations.  Because, you see, according to the United Nations Charter, territory should not be legitimately acquired by war.

Professor Eugene Kantorovich (hat tip: Legal Insurrection) pointed out last year the error of this view in the case of defensive wars:

The widely-repeated view that recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights would be contrary to international law is based on one fundamental assumption: that at least since the adoption of U.N. Charter, international law prohibits any acquisition of foreign territory by force. While such a formulation of the rule is largely accurate, it omits crucial exceptions quite relevant to the case of the Golan Heights.

Whatever the current status of an absolute prohibition on territorial change resulting from war, there was certainly no such blanket prohibition in 1967, when the territory came under Israeli control. At the time, international law only prohibited acquisition of force in illegal or aggressive wars. This is evident from the source of the prohibition in the UN Charter, post-Charter state practice, and the understandings of international jurists at the time. There is simply no precedent or authoritative source for forbidding defensive conquest in 1967.

By reversing previous American policy denying Israeli sovereignty, President Trump thumbed his nose at the U.N.-as-world-government crowd and acknowledged the fundamental right of a sovereign nation to survive.  Ultimately, the theorists of world governance by the U.N. seek to endow that body with life-and-death control over nation-states.

Despite Twitter not being exactly an official organ for proclaiming U.S. government policy, Israel's P.M. Netanyahu leaped at the opportunity to thank Trump:

With Netanyahu facing voters in two weeks, and embroiled in an alleged scandal, this huge victory from Trump has upset his political enemies, who have been already tasting the joy of his prospective defeat.

Democrats, who have now become hostile to Israel and Jews, and whose declared presidential nominees are all boycotting the AIPAC meeting for the first time ever, now have an issue  on which they can express their new open opposition to the Jewish state.

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