The fragmentation of the Syrian state has reportedly been seized upon by Benjamin Netanyahu as a reason for the US to officially recognise Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights in 1981.
In the first meeting between Mr Netanyahu and Barack Obama in more than a year, the Israeli leader allegedly said as Syria was no longer a fully functioning state, this allowed “for different thinking”.
The US president is alleged to have brushed off the remarks, with an anonymous official telling Haaretz: “I think the president didn’t think it warranted an answer. It wasn’t clear how serious he [Netanyahu] was about it.”
Israel first occupied the territory in the 1967 war, later refusing to vacate the area which is now an area of intense building following an extension of civilian control in 1981.
Five villages house approximately 22,000 Druze – allowed to remain due to connections with Israeli Druze – while a similar number of Israelis have moved to the area.
The issue of ownership is further complicated by the discovery of oil in the area by an Israeli subsidiary of US company Genie Energy, the Ecologist reported. The find has the potential to produce “billions of barrels,” the chief geologist of the company told the Economist.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies