At the whim of a powerful nation
When US President Donald Trump tweeted their full recognition of Israel's sovereignty over Golan Heights, "a current of surprise and expectation sizzled through the state department press corps", as a BBC correspondent on a Jerusalem tour following US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo put it. It is said that the welcome surprise to Netanyahu was more in the timing than in substance. The intention that came to highlight through the tweet had been under consideration for quite some time, only the Israelis now pushed it with greater vigour. Of critical security and strategic importance, the Golan Heights is pivotal to stability in the region. For decades, most of the world (and previous US establishments) have rejected Israel's occupation of the Golan Heights which was seized from Syria in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. According to the UN charter, essentially, you can't keep land that you capture, you have to negotiate its fate. Trump's tweeted announcement has overturned this convention. This very grave move has implications that go beyond the bilateral dynamics of USA and Israel. Endorsing capture of a territory is potentially setting a dangerous trend to exercise military arbitration by a more powerful state. The regions that promptly come to mind at this are: on the global stage, Russia's annexation of Crimea; in the Asian context, Tibet; and regarding India, PoK, given that Pakistan was USA's baby not too long ago.
Trump's special mention of strategic and security reasons point out only too clearly to Iran, coming in the wake of the understanding that Iran is using Syria as a base to target Israel and the Golan Heights being the front line. Also, given that Israel already has a tight grip on the region militarily, the articulation of the status and a formal declaration of it make little difference on the ground. Hence, the next most obvious reason for this move has to be the election in Israel due on April 9, and something to count for Netanyahu, who will be making a visit to White House in the coming week. The situation is such that Israel strikes routinely at Iranian targets in Syria, carefully negotiating the situation with Russia, which provides crucial military backing to the Syrian state, a delicate balance indeed. With a civil war-wrecked Syria and a US sanctions-crippled Iran, Israel is in a position to assert claims over the region additionally with the support from White House. This is clearly a mechanism to violate territorial integrity and institutionalise regional instability. European leaders have not taken very kindly to this bilateral bonhomie at the cost of a suffering region. And rightly so. If recognition was so easy to give away, such arbitration raises very pertinent questions about Tibet, Kashmir, and Crimea. All it takes is the whim of a powerful nation.