Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared on Sunday that Israel would never relinquish the Golan Heights, in a signal to Russia and the United States that the strategic plateau should be excluded from any deal on Syria's future. 'The Golan Heights will remain in Israel's hands forever,' Netanyahu told his cabinet, which met for the first time on the Golan since the area was captured from Syria in a 1967 war and annexed in 1981, in a move that has not won international recognition. But the timing was seen by some political commentators as linked to talks Netanyahu is due to hold with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Syria, where Moscow's military and diplomatic interventions are crucial.
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Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma writer and a former civilian US Army Public Information Officer. She is a Managing Editor for OpEd News, and a regular contributor for a variety of Internet sites.