There is a history distinct from the UN and Haaretz on the Golan Heights:
During the Ottoman era instead of Syria there was a Syrian district.
In the aftermath of World War 1, the Golan Heights was awarded by France to the new country of Syria.
Israel took the Golan in 1967 following its defense in the war started by Syria and Egypt.
UN resolution 242 defines the cease fire after the 1967 war. This calls for Israel to return “territory” (not “the territory”) in exchange for agreements between the States. Israel was an early signer and returned the town of Quneitra to Syria. Syria signed conditionally in 1972. Then Syria joined with Egypt in launching the 1973 War against Israel. Following its victory, Israel yielded an additional small territory to Syria. Thus, despite Syria’s breach of UN 242, Israel, in returning “territory”, has complied with UN 242.
Syria held the territory for 49 years; Israel has held it for 52 years. No Syrian Arabs now live on the Golan. The majority of residents on the Golan now are Israelis. The rest are Druze and these are mixed in their attachment between Israel and Syria. If it came to answering a demand, Israel could offer a plebiscite to the Druze on whether they want to have their border redrawn to rejoin Syria or whether they want to remain in Israel.
Again, Syria has breached international agreements on the Golan including starting the 1973 war; Israel has complied with UN 242.
Despite the above, US State Department has followed the UN in that the Golan belongs to Syria. US State seems to be relying on ancient legalisms rather than current reality.