Netanyahu vows Golan will remain Israel’s ‘forever’
Netanyahu reportedly fears Israel could come under pressure to return the Golan as part of a future Syria peace deal
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed Sunday that the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights would “forever” remain in his country's hands as his cabinet held its first meeting in the territory.
“The Golan Heights will remain in the hands of Israel forever,” Netanyahu said at the start of the cabinet meeting, in comments broadcast on public radio.
Israeli media have reported that Netanyahu planned the cabinet meeting as a statement amid fears Israel could come under pressure to return the Golan - which it seized from Syria in 1967 - as part of a future peace deal for its war-torn neighbor.
Public radio said the premier was taking the step to make the international community understand that an Israeli withdrawal from the Golan was "in no way on the agenda, neither now nor in the future".
Israel seized 1,200 square kilometers (460 sq miles) of the Golan Heights from Syria in the Six-Day War of 1967 and later annexed it in a move never recognized by the international community.
According to media reports, Netanyahu fears Israel could come under pressure to return the Golan as part of a future peace deal for war-torn Syria.