…Israel doesn’t regard its annexation as irreversible, and not long ago treated the territory as a bargaining chip. As recently as the late 1990s, Israel almost returned most of the territory to Syria.
Negotiations failed because Israel was unwilling to withdraw to exactly the 1949 armistice lines, which would have restored Syrian access to the waters of Lake Tiberias. Israel insisted on keeping a strip of land that would deny Syria access to the lake, also known as the Sea of Galilee.
…A State Department human rights report this month described the Golan as “Israeli controlled” instead of the traditional U.S. designation, “Israeli occupied.”
…Confirming Israel’s seizure of this territory would render any territory in the world subject to conquest and annexation. There’d be no legal basis to insist, for example, that Russia must return Crimea to Ukraine. Indeed, Russia would be virtually invited to start gobbling up any parts of the former Soviet Union it regrets having let go of at the end of the Cold War. And that’s just Russia.
……Given the chaos in Syria, no one would ask Israel to make a territorial concession on the Golan Heights now. But that’s hardly a justification for a decades-old land grab. Like recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, confirming Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights is a solution in search of a problem. It would come at a steep cost and achieve nothing.