Many people in the Middle East…in fact, many people throughout the world believe that Israel is a puppet under the command of The United States. It is believed that Israel does nothing without The United States’ orders or, at the very least, permission. Such characterizations are most evident in anti-Israeli propaganda when Israel makes the unforgivable mistake of trying to save itself from hostile forces. Consider, for example, how the recent Israeli-Lebanon war was characterized as one between Israel and The United States on one hand and poor, amateurish, ill-equipped freedom fighters (that is, the terrorists of Hezbollah) on the other hand. Except for supporting Israel and agreeing to speed up arms deliveries, The United States had no role with or upon Israel whatsoever.
Shortly before the near-miraculous Six-Day War, Israel consulted with the government of The United States regarding its situation. The Government made it perfectly clear, with no unmistaken terms, that The United States would not support any preemptive strike whatsoever. Were Israel to be attacked by Arab forces (Egypt, Syria, and Jordan were mobilizing to attack Israel), The United States would rush to Israel’s support; but were Israel to strike first, Israel would be in the situation alone, without any help, assistance, or support from The United States. All this notwithstanding, Israel struck first, in essence discarding the stern warning from The United States’ government.
(Sidenote one of two: What became ironic was that once war broke out, Jews lobbied Washington, DC, extensively to support and assist Israel. Lyndon B. Johnson, the president at that time, was a bit irate that the same Jewish people and organizations that were protesting The Vietnam War were pressuring The White House to act militarily on behalf of Israel.)
(Sidenote two of two: It was during this war that Israel accidently attacked the USS Liberty, which has become fodder for many conspiracy theories.)
I mention The Six-Day War because it demonstrates that Israel listens to and values the opinion and policy and statements of The United States only to a point. Egypt was as clearly warned by The Soviet Union that starting the war would mean Egypt would have to go it alone without any assistance from The Soviet Union. Egypt listened. But when Israel was given the same warning by The United States (The United States:Israel = The Soviet Union:Egypt), Israel did not heed the warning.
In Syria asking The United States to make Israel give to Syria The Golan Heights, Syria is betraying the same old assumption that The United States controls Israel. Indeed, during The Six-Day War, Arab propaganda repeatedly broadcasted “The Big Lie” that Israel was acting under orders of and with the support of The United States and The United Kingdom, despite the clarity of the facts demonstrating otherwise, which came back to hurt the Arabs when they wanted The United States to intervene and ask Israel to stop: as a result of The Big Lie, The United States refused to consider the Arabs’ request for immediate intervention and, instead, worked behind the scenes to bring about a situation that benefited Israel as much as was considered to be practical. In fact, The United States pressured The Soviet Union to make its Arab proxies renounce The Big Lie.
Whether to return The Golan Heights under these circumstances is complicated. On the one hand, if Syria means what it says, the situation in Iraq could improve dramatically. This is good for Syria, Iraq, and The United States. (Whether Iran will rush to fill in the vacuum in Iraq’s chaos is another matter all together.) If Syria intends to release its hold on Lebanon, which would mean ending all support for Hezbollah, this would be good for Syria, Lebanon, and Israel. On the other hand, if Syria reneges on its agreement with The United States or is unable to uphold its agreement, Syria would win while Iraq, The United States, and Israel will lose. Even if Syria upholds its agreement with The United States but takes no action with regard to Lebanon, Syria and The United States would win but Israel would lose. But if Israel outright refuses to abide by The United States’ request, Syria would have made a public relations gain, The United States would have lost, and Israel would still be stuck but with the addition of a somewhat displeased ally.
But, in the end, if Israel–whether Israel’s people or its government or both–decides that it should not give The Golan Heights to Syria, at least not on Israel’s terms, then there is very little The United States can do.
In my opinion, The United States will not ask Israel to give to Syria The Golan Heights. The issue of The Golan Heights is complicated. Furthermore, Syria cannot be trusted. No agreement with any Arab state can be considered to be trustworthy. Like most states in the world, Arab states seek their own interests. Israel and The United States should do the same. As it is, The United States have something to gain by Israel exercising strategic superiority over that area of the Middle East: if Syria assumes strategic superiority there, it could feel emboldened or able to attack Israel (or pursue a conflict of attrition) that would inevitably lead to war between Israel and Syria, and were this to happen, The United States would have to get involved at some point and in some way and to some degree.