In his commentary, "Recognizing reality" (Feb. 5), Robert Pines suggests "The time is ripe for the United States to show tangible support for its closest ally in the Middle East … and to recognize the Golan for what it is: Israeli." Based on years of tangible support for the state of Israel in the form of billions of dollars in military and non-military aid and vetoes of United Nations resolutions that condemn Israeli transgressions against Arabs and Arab lands and property, among many other displays of loyalty, it would appear that the time has always been ripe for this type of support. This is nothing new. With regard to recognition of the Golan Heights, he also seems to forget that the vast majority of the population of this land is Arab Syrian and, except for about 10 percent of the population, residents have repeatedly rejected Israeli offers of citizenship.
Many border villages and families have been physically and forcibly separated from neighboring villages in Lebanon and Syria by the Israeli occupying authority since 1967. Since Israel is, nominally, a democratic state, and the U.S. purports to propagate democracy and self-determination worldwide — with particular focus on the Middle East — perhaps the inhabitants of these villages and towns, the legitimate citizens of the Golan Heights, should be allowed to determine their own destiny. Which they have, time and again, already done by refusing to accept the citizenship of an occupying nation.
Ramzi and Noura Hemady