The most important news, linked to the visit of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to Washnigton, is not necessarily in the headlines of One. Rather, it is the decision to ask the United States to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights. This happens at a time when US President Donald Trump seeks to reinvigorate the US’s relations with its allies in the Middle East and to introduce new strategies to solve a myriad of challenges to which the United States are faced. In this context, the idea presented by Netanyahu should incite more than a casual review, from Washington.

Israel conquered two-thirds of the Golan’s territory from Syria in 1967 and annexed them in 1981 to the dismay of the international community. These strategic heights represent less than one per cent of Syrian territory, for under its control, they serve as an advanced position from which the Syrian artillery could regularly bomb the northern part of Israel and from where the Palestinian Fatah initially launched regular cross-border raids.

What the Trump Administration will decide to do with regard to Syria requires an even more important decision, about Russia. Finding out how the interests of Russian President Vladimir Putin intersect or diverge from those of America will serve as a cornerstone in developing a broader and coherent strategy in the Middle East that will fulfill the twin goals of Trump, Destroy the Islamic State (Daesh) and repel the Iranian hegemony. At the same time, Washington’s definition of the Moscow regional role will have direct consequences on the position and sharing of information in the context of Israel’s security.

There are several reasons why recognizing the annexation of the Golan Heights would be beneficial to both the United States and Israel. Whether the previous Israeli-Syrian peace attempts took place in Hafez el Assad in the years 1990 to 2000 or supervised by his son Bashar in 2008 and 2010, the results were the same: Syrian leaders demand more than Either Egypt or Jordan have received, under the agreements with these countries, while offering significantly less in return. Essentially, they demand that Israel pay them a bonus for the additional decades of Syrian hostility.

Previous attempts to make peace in the days of the Obama Administration have been altered from a formula of land for peace to a land theory against a realignment where Syria is thought to be Could pivot and exit the Iranian orbit. The idea that Tehran and Damascus only shared a marriage of interests was absurd at that time. President Obama’s latest decision to “respect the shares” of Tehran in Syria demonstrated his belated understanding that the reign of Assad in Syria corresponds to a central Iranian interest. At that time, there is nothing that Syria can not offer to Israel or the United States that can not be secured without going through the imprimatur of Russia, or rather of Iran directly.

In fact, the risk of returning the Golan Heights must be measured in comparison with the fact that Iran is actively setting up a new forward command post along the Israeli border with the Golan Heights. Syria. This happens at a time when the Israelis are fully aware that the reward for the renunciation of territories is manifested by rains of rockets and mortar shells from Hezbollah in southern Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza. If Israel had ever accepted the previous territorial demands of either Hafez or Bashar al-Assad against “peace,” Iran, Hezbollah or Daesh would today threaten Israel from their perch along the Golan.

To weaken Iran’s hold over Syria and beyond is beneficial to the United States, given President Trump’s stated willingness to reach an understanding with Russia. The time has come for the Trump Administration to realize that Putin’s interests are not aligned with those of America. The last shiploads of weapons sent by Russia to Syria – the largest to date, since the Russians strutted in Syria without the previous administration in any way opposing it in any way in 2015 – are not intended To eradicate the Islamic State. Their goal is to keep Assad in power, provide security to his Iranian client and increase the Russian threat against NATO’s southern flank by improving and expanding its Mediterranean base in Tartous,

Putin’s message to the United States is clear: Russia is back, prepared to defend its former Soviet-era clients and all roads to resolve conflicts pass through Moscow.

By understanding this, one must realize that taking Moscow away from Iran through bilateral discussions is probably as meaningless as to spare the hope that Syria can emerge from the orbit of Iran. As Lee Smith, Principal Investigator at the Hudson Institute, points out, there are strategic partnerships, but not marriages of interest. The way to change the Russo-Iranian dynamic is not only to talk with Putin, but to devalue Iran as a strategic asset for Moscow, through sanctions, clandestine operations, a cyber warfare and a range of other Aggressive measures.

Capitalizing on the idea of ​​Netanyahu will contribute to the US effort to limit the re-emergence of Russia as a mediating power in the Middle East after 40 years of absence. Rather than being encouraged by the Obama Administration as a consequence of its own self-inflicted “red lines,” it is necessary to examine the situation in the light of America’s interests. It is not to say that Washington and Moscow can not cooperate where their interests converge. Destroying Daesh should be a common goal. But the time of unconditional support for a nuclear deal totally distorted with Iran by being generous towards Putin, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Bashar al-Assad is over.

There is yet another benefit to recognizing the Golan Heights as Israelis, in the way that this can help to reset the moribund peace process with the Palestinians by providing new options to the Special Advisor to US President Jared Kushner. This suppresses the idea that the lines of 4 June 1967 would be sacrosanct in the framework of peace agreements, while minimizing the damage caused by the recent UN Security Council Resolution 2334. This unreasonable decision not only fixes these lines as the starting point of any negotiation but empowers the Palestinians as if they held title to “property” in pre – 1967 Israeli territory as part of a ” Exchange of mutually agreed land.

This approach is misleading and pre-empts the possible outcome of the negotiation from the point of departure. The question does not even arise, then, whether and why the Palestinians prefer to avoid direct negotiations with Israel. Their pocket profits and concessions are the reward of their avoidance strategy and their hostility.

UNCS resolution 242 has long served as a touchstone for peace in the Middle East and calls for the restitution of territories (not all territories) in exchange for peace. To date, Israel has returned 80% of the territories it conquered during the 1967 war. Syria missed the boat; The ship continued sailing. With regard to the Palestinians, the depth of the Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria can only reflect the depth of peace that is offered to them.

Much has changed since the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the meeting of the Peace Conference in Madrid, more than a quarter of a century ago. US policy must also adjust to reflect lessons learned from past successes and failures. Israel is no longer perceived as the No. 1 enemy by Arab leaders. While they would probably not oppose an American recognition of the Israeli Golan, they have a better understanding of their priorities and would accept it all the better as it would be presented as part of a more regional plan Which is progressing in their favor. Moreover, if one takes into consideration the choice between aligning with Russia or a reanimated America and determined to reward its allies and to bring down its adversaries,

With the change of guard in Washington, the team in place is pursuing new goals in Syria, the region and beyond. America has pushed the rock of Sisyphus of the earth against peace for decades and reached a point of no return or very diminished returns. Rather, there should be penalties, rather than rewards for those who do not hesitate to express their repeated distrust, whether it be the Syrians, the Iranians or the Palestinians. Netanyahu’s request to the US that they recognize the Israeli annexation of the Golan would be a bold move that would help achieve several US goals in the Middle East while abandoning prescriptive policies that have long since passed their expiration date .

The author is an analyst from the Middle East to the Wikistrate and former Director of the Jewish Political Center in Washington, DC. You can follow it on Twitter: @RJBrodsky

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