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Israel says 'world must recognise Golan annexation'

Israel occupied the Golan Heights in 1967. [Getty]

Date of publication: 16 June, 2017

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Israel's President Reuven Rivlin on Thursday called for international recognition of the occupied Golan Heights, saying the territory captured from Syria is 'essential' to the country's survival.

Israel's President Reuven Rivlin called for international recognition of the country's annexation of the occupied Golan Heights, saying the territory captured from Syria is "essential" to its survival.

Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in 1967, together with the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. The territory has not been annexed but Israeli law was officially applied there in 1981, making it de facto part of the country.

"The nations of the world must formally recognise that the Golan is an integral part of the state of Israel, and is essential to our existence as a people," Rivlin told an event celebrating Jewish settler communities in the territory.

In light of Syria's ongoing civil war, the Israeli president said the Golan Heights are more fundamental than ever for Israel's security.

"The internal Israeli debate about the Golan, if there was one, has ended," Rivlin said, according to The Times of Israel.

Israel will "never leave the residents of the Galilee exposed to the intentions and weapons of a regime that massacres its own citizens", he added.

The comments by Israel's president to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1967 war are the latest in a series of declarations about the Golan Heights by Israeli officials.

Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu promised to "forever" maintain control of the Golan Heights.

"The Golan Heights will forever remain under Israeli sovereignty. We will never leave the Golan Heights. It's ours," he told a youth conference in the settlement of Katzrin.

The international community considers the Golan Heights occupied territory and does not recognise Israeli sovereignty of the area.

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