US to redraw maps to show Golan heights as Israeli territory
The Trump administration says it will update U.S. government maps to reflect President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
In a Wednesday email responding to questions from VOA Persian, a State Department spokesperson said the map changes would be “consistent” with a March 25 proclamation signed by Trump, saying the U.S. “recognizes that the Golan Heights are part of the State of Israel.”
In a separate interview with VOA later Wednesday, U.S. Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook said the State Department would “redraw” its official maps and release them “as soon as they are ready.” The map changes will reflect facts on the ground and a “need for Israel to have secure and defensible borders,” Hook added.
Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Arab-Israeli War and annexed it in 1981 in a move no other nation recognized until the U.S. officially changed its policy this week. Syria has long demanded the return of the disputed territory, which the rest of the international community considers to be Israeli-occupied.
In the earlier email to VOA, the State Department spokesperson declined to say whether the U.S. recognizes the Israeli border in the Golan Heights as being located along a 1974 cease-fire line on the western edge of a demilitarized zone patrolled by a U.N. Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF). Israel considers the western line of the UNDOF zone, also known as line “Alpha,” to be its border with Syria.
Responding to a question about the Alpha line, the State Department spokesperson said: “The United States supports the goal of a secure and lasting peace between Israel and all its neighbors, including Syria. Such a peace should be achieved through direct discussions. Israel does not currently have a partner for peace in Syria.”
In a Monday interview with VOA Persian in Washington, Deputy Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Benjamin Krasna said the Syrian civil war that began in 2011 and occasionally has spilled over into the Israeli-controlled Golan has highlighted the plateau’s importance in providing Israel with what he called “strategic depth.”
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