The United States on Monday objected to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s assertion that the Golan Heights will forever remain under Israeli control, reiterating that it does not recognize the Jewish state’s claims to the strategic plateau. 

US State Department spokesman John Kirby said that the Obama administration does not consider the Golan Heights to be part of Israel.
“The US position on the issue is unchanged,” Kirby said at a daily media briefing at the State Department in Washington. “This position was maintained by both Democratic and Republican administrations. Those territories are not part of Israel and the status of those territories should be determined through negotiations.”

Israel captured the Golan from Syria in the 1967 war and effectively annexed it in 1981. The move was unanimously rejected the same year by the UN Security Council.

Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz on Monday backed Netanyahu, saying it would be “foolhardy and dangerous” for the world to press Israel to relinquish the territory amid the ongoing Syrian civil war.

“The government of Israel reiterated the reality that the Golan Heights are part of Israel’s sovereign territory. Given the presence of hostile terrorist organizations ranging from ISIS to Hezbollah on Israel’s northern border, it is foolhardy and dangerous for elements in the international community to try to pressure Israel to abandon the Golan to the chaos engulfing Syria. The path to peace cannot involve Israel’s abdication of its own security,” Cruz said in a statement. Read the full story here.