January/February 2000


18 January 2000
President of Syria
Hafez Al Assad

C/o Syrian Embassy, Washington D.C.
By Fax

Mr. President,

Re: Legal Considerations in Surrendering the Golan Heights

We, the elected representatives of the Golan Heights communities, write to you as the Israeli-Syrian negotiations are resuming. We feel that it is our duty to inform you that the Israeli Prime Minister, Mr. Ehud Barak, is not legally authorized to surrender any part of the Golan Heights.

According to the Israeli Law and Order Act (5759-1999), the Government of
Israel is forbidden to surrender a sovereign part of the State in which the law, jurisdiction and administration of the State was applied, without a majority vote of 61 Members of the Knesset as well as a public referendum.

Tel Aviv University poll of December 28, 1999, published in 'Ha'Aretz' on Jan. 6, 2000, reports 62% opposed to Israeli withdrawal from the Golan; 21% in favor; 17% have no opinion.

The law strictly emphasizes, that such an action cannot be taken by 'a decision of the government in form of ratification of a convention or a treaty or in other form, including the undertaking of a future obligation and a conditioned obligation'. This law was supported by Ehud Barak, himself, in January 1999.

If Prime Minister Barak makes such an agreement, we will appeal to the Israeli Supreme Court, which will, without doubt, decide that such and commitment is illegal.

We would like to add that, to the best of our knowledge, Prime Minister Barak does not have the required majority in the Knesset and, therefore, the Government will not be able to keep any agreement which includes surrendering territories on the Golan.

Yehuda Wolman Head of the Golan Regional
Eli Malka Chairman Golan Residents Committee
Sammy Bar Lev Mayor City of Qatzrin

Cc: Prime Minister, Mr. Ehud Barak
President of U.S.A., Mr. Bill Clinton

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