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U.S. Should 'Fully Recognize' Israeli Sovereignty over Golan Heights

U.S. Should 'Fully Recognize' Israeli Sovereignty over Golan Heights

Trump's announcement coincided with a visit by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Jerusalem, where he became the first high-ranking American official to visit the Western Wall alongside an Israeli prime minister - another boost for Netanyahu.

After 52 years it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel's Sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which is of critical strategic and security importance to the State of Israel and Regional Stability!

Despite numerous wars, claims and counter-claims, the worldwide community continues to regard the scenic, resource-rich region as part of Syria.

Following the announcement, Prime Minister Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with Trump by phone to thank him.

When Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital, he said it did not determine the city's final borders.

It was captured by Israel during the Middle East war of 1967 and subsequently annexed in a move never recognised by the worldwide community.

"It's clear that this cynical move by Trump is not about the long-term interests of the USA or Israel, but rather about handing yet another political gift to Prime Minister Netanyahu in the hopes of boosting his chances for re-election next month", said J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami.

Minutes later, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted his appreciation.

Mr Pompeo's presence also appeared to signal Mr Trump's support for Mr Netanyahu the political candidate.

Greece-Cyprus-Israel summit in Jerusalem
Trump: Time for US to recognize Israeli sovereignty over Golan Heights

The premier, facing a stiff challenge from a centrist alliance in April 9 polls, will also visit Washington next week and meet with Trump twice while there.

The Trump decision to recognize the Golan now gives Netanyahu a significant boost before the election, but will also also trigger criticism that the U.S. president is blatantly meddling in the Israeli elections.

Last week, in its annual human rights report, the State Department dropped the phrase "Israeli-occupied" from the Golan Heights section, instead calling it "Israeli-controlled". He added: "Thank you President Trump!"

Angering Palestinians and drawing worldwide concern, Trump broke with decades of U.S. Middle East policy by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital in 2017 and moving the American Embassy, which Pompeo will visit on Thursday, to the city last May.

The global community considers the Golan to be occupied territory, and Syria has demanded its return as a condition for any future peace agreement.

"You could imagine what would have happened if Israel were not in the Golan", he said.

Pressure on Iran, Netanyahu said, must be intensified now that the US has reimposed sanctions on Tehran following Washington's withdrawal from a 2015 deal with world powers to limit the Iranian nuclear program.

After Israel first seized the Golan Heights in 1967, Israeli citizens nearly immediately began settling in the area. Trump declared his break with that policy in a tweet. But little more than a statement from the president or secretary of state is necessary to secure the major US policy shift.

Why does Israel want the Golan?

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