The Canadian government says it does not recognize permanent Israeli control of the Golan Heights, on the heels of U.S. President Donald Trump’s recognition of the region as Israeli territory.
“In accordance with international law, Canada does not recognize permanent Israeli control over the Golan Heights,” Global Affairs Canada announced in a March 25 statement. “Canada’s long-standing position remains unchanged.”
Israel captured the territory in the 1967 Six Day War from Syria, which tried to recapture it in the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Israel formally annexed the region in 1981, a move that went unrecognized internationally.
“Annexation of territory by force is prohibited under international law. Any declaration of a unilateral border change goes against the foundation of the rules-based international order,” Global Affairs stated.
Canada remains “a steadfast friend of Israel,” the statement added. “We stand with Israel and support Israel’s right to live in peace and security with its neighbours.”
This country’s position is in keeping with its long-held stance on territories Israel captured in 1967.
Canada does not recognize “permanent Israeli control over territories occupied in 1967 (the Golan Heights, the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip),” according to a government website.
Israel vacated the Gaza Strip in 2005.
“The Fourth Geneva Convention applies in the occupied territories and establishes Israel’s obligations as an occupying power, in particular with respect to the humane treatment of the inhabitants of the occupied territories,” Canada’s policy states.
Under United Nations Security Council Resolutions, “Israeli settlements in the occupied territories are a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The settlements also constitute a serious obstacle to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace.
“Canada believes that both Israel and the Palestinian Authority must fully respect international human rights and humanitarian law which is key to ensuring the protection of civilians, and can contribute to the creation of a climate conducive to achieving a just, lasting and comprehensive peace settlement,” according to official Canadian policy.
On March 25, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looked on in the White House as Trump signed a proclamation officially granting U.S. recognition of the Golan Heights as Israeli territory, a dramatic shift from decades of U.S. policy.
“This was a long time in the making,” Trump said.
Israel’s Embassy in Ottawa issued the following statement to The CJN:
“Israel welcomes President Trump’s historic decision to recognize its sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Israel was forced to take the Golan Heights in self-defence in 1967 after a decade of deadly fire that rained from the Golan Heights by Syria, on Israel’s citizens below, and after Syria urged the Arab countries to mobilize, to destroy Israel. Today, the Golan is more important than ever for Israel’s security, when Iran is actively working to establish bases in Syria to strike at Israel, and launched drones into Israeli airspace and missiles into our territory. Israel’s continued sovereignty and presence over the Golan Heights is necessary to prevent future Syrian acts of aggression against Israel.”
The CJN’s request to Conservative party leader Andrew Scheer for comment was not returned.