During the first-ever Israeli Cabinet meeting held in the Golan Heights, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent a message to President Obama: if you think Israel is giving up territory as part of a two-state peace deal, think again.
"The time has come for the international community to recognize reality, especially two basic facts," Netanyahu said. "One, whatever is beyond the border, the boundary itself will not change. Two, after 50 years, the time has come for the international community to finally recognize that the Golan Heights will remain under Israel's sovereignty permanently."
The Golan Heights were part of the territory seized by Israel during the Six Day War in 1967, and are considered strategic because they could be used to launch attacks on the rest of Israel. Syria attempted to retake the territory during the Yom Kippur War in 1973, but was defeated.
Israel officially annexed the territory in 1981.
Republican presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz applauded Netanyahu's resolve on the matter. His campaign issued the following statement from the Senator following the Prime Minister's remarks:
"Today, 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. I applaud Prime Minister Netanyahu's courage in standing up for the safety of his people. America stands with you."
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