Egypt's Mubarak says Syria refused to recognize Israel in exchange for Golan offer | Eurasia Diary -

22 July, Monday

Egypt's Mubarak says Syria refused to recognize Israel in exchange for Golan offer

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Egypt's former dictator Hosni Mubarak has revealed that an Israeli proposal to give the occupied Golan Heights to Syria was turned down by Syria's then-President Hafez al-Assad in 1998 to avoid recognizing Israel.

Speaking to the Egyptian al-Hayat network, Mubarak said the rejected offer included establishing formal relations and opening embassies.

“I contacted the Israelis to try to recover the Golan Heights, but they demanded the opening of an Israeli embassy in Damascus and a Syrian one on the occupied land as a kind of Syrian recognition of Israel,” he said.

Mubarak added that United States President Donald Trump's recognition of the occupied Golan Heights as Israeli territory last month “was the result” of Syria's refusal of the offer.

In 1967, Israel waged a full-scale war against Arab countries, during which it occupied a large swathe of Syria’s Golan and annexed it four years later - a move never recognized by the international community.

Israel has since built dozens of illegal settlements in the Golan Heights in defiance of international calls for the regime to stop its illegal construction activities.

Earlier this month, reports suggested that Israel is planning to settle some additional 250,000 settlers over the next 30 years.

Tel Aviv has also admitted using the occupied part of Golan to prop up terrorists operating against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Having defeated terrorist enclaves in the country following the years-long foreign-backed militancy, Damascus has vowed to retake the Israeli-occupied territory by every means possible.

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