Giving away something that isn’t yours


United States President Donald Trump recently issued a decree recognizing Israel’s right to annex the Golan Heights, which it seized from Syria during the war of aggression against three Arab states – Egypt, Jordan and Syria - in 1967. This is in flagrant violation of international laws as well as the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council and the General Assembly and all international laws and conventions that prohibit the occupation of the territories of others by force.

Earlier, Trump recognized Jerusalem as the eternal capital of Israel in defiance of all international charters and laws, hurting the sentiments of Muslims who consider Jerusalem as the first Qibla in whose direction they once faced while offering their prayers. Jerusalem is a blessed holy land not only for Muslims but also for Christians, and Palestinians consider it to be their capital.

Through these acts, President Trump thinks that he is doing a great service to Israel. But his decision will pave the way for the demise of Israel because it is a malignant plant planted in the heart of the Arab world by British colonial rule. British Foreign Minister Arthur Balfour promised Jews a national homeland of their own in Palestine as if it were a land owned by him or his government to give to the Jews who lived in Europe. This made it easier for them to migrate to Palestine and then expel the people of Palestine from their homeland and confiscate their properties, while perpetrating a killing spree on those who came forward to defend their land and honor.

What Trump did was an extension of what Balfour had done before - another aggression not only on the Palestinians but also on the right of all Muslims all over the world with regard to Jerusalem. If Muslims are now in a position of weakness, a day will come when they will be strong and will make the Jews and those who support their invalidity pay a heavy price.

President Trump’s actions undermine all the American claims that it has been working to create a new world ruled by legitimacy, while it is violating all international laws and UN resolutions even those approved by the United States of America. Where is the reason and logic and where is the law and order? Are there no legal advisors for President Trump to explain to him what is wrong and what is right? It is certain that these advisors know well that it is inappropriate for the president of the world’s superpower to violate international laws and UN resolutions that have been negotiated and adopted with the approval of the United States. When the president acts against these decisions and violates their terms, then the credibility of the United States is at stake. This also leads to smaller countries losing hope in the United Nations and in all its agencies. In such a scenario, the presence of these organizations seems to be insignificant and worthless. The mighty powers dictate and enforce their destructive policies irrespective of their consequences and legitimacies. The proverb that justice is the basis of rule is a correct and objective one but those who do not apply it have a dark and unclear fate.

What applies to Jerusalem also applies to the Syrian Golan Heights, which was occupied by Israel at the same time that it seized Jerusalem during the war of 1967. Subsequently, Israel annexed the Golan Heights in 1981 but the UN Security Council nullified this annexation by adopting a resolution. The Golan Heights continues to remain occupied Syrian territory. The occupier has no right to make any changes in the geographical or demographic features of the occupied territories.

All the countries in the world have condemned the US president’s move, describing it as illegal and illegitimate. It also nullifies the role played by the United States in stopping the war and facilitating the arrangements of truce in establishing stability in the region.

What the US president offered as justification for his decision was that he would provide security for his Israeli ally as well as achieve stability in the region. He must realize that there is no hope of achieving security for Israel and there will be no stability in the region without returning people’s rights and stopping aggression. Everyone knows that what Trump had given is a gift to his friend Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel at a time when Netanyahu sees that victory in the upcoming elections will not be easy because of his strong rivals along with the corruption charges that haunt him. At the same time, Trump also aims to satisfy his electoral base of pro-Israel evangelicals in preparation for the upcoming US elections.

Dr. Ali Al-Ghamdi is a former Saudi diplomat who specializes in Southeast Asian affairs. He can be reached at