“The Golan is not disputed. It is in the hands of Israel and will always remain in the hands of Israel,” Graham said from a cliff overlooking Syria, where Syrian flags could be seen fluttering in the distance on buildings damaged in the country’s civil war. “My goal is to try to explain this to the administration,” he said.
In past negotiations, Syria has demanded a withdrawal from the Golan as part of any peace deal. With Syria ravaged by a nearly eight-year-old civil war, peace talks with Israel seem unlikely anytime soon.
Graham called the prospect of Israeli withdrawal from the Golan “a strategic nightmare” and political “suicide,” citing shared Israeli and American concern over Iranian entrenchment in neighboring Syria. Israel has admitted to carrying out scores of airstrikes in Syria against Iranian targets in recent years.
A beaming Netanyahu applauded Graham’s remarks and asserted that Israel would never give up the land.