President Trump Just Recognized the Golan Heights as Israeli Territory

Israeli tanks during training in the Golan Heights near the city of Quneitra on the Israeli Syrian Border 12 February 2019

Greece-Cyprus-Israel summit in Jerusalem

If implemented as official US policy, Trump's plan could have long lasting effects on the Middle East.

The disputed Golan Heights were seized from neighbouring Syria by Israel following the 1967 Six-Day War; the move has never been recognised by the global community.

FILE PHOTO: A couple look towards signs pointing out distances to different cities, at an observation post in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, January 21, 2019. But that annexation has not been recognized by the worldwide community, which has regarded the Golan Heights as occupied territory and Israeli settlements there as illegal under global law.

Israel occupied the Golan Heights, recognized internationally as Syrian territory, during the 1967 war.

Many are ascribing the decision to reelection hopes, of both Netanyahu and Trump.

"There are certainly people here who say they agree", one USA official said. Netanyahu, facing a tough challenge from a popular former military chief and reeling from a series of corruption allegations, has repeatedly sought to focus attention on his foreign policy record and strong ties with Trump. Lindsey Graham visited the Golan Heights with Netanyahu and US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman.

Trump's Golan Heights announcement came as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Jerusalem. Regardless, the president's sentiment contradicts decades of USA policy, undermines the legitimacy of American opposition to Putin's annexation of Crimea, and will embolden right-wing forces in Israel who have been pushing for the annexation of the West Bank (a move that would ostensibly make Israel into a de jure apartheid state).

Greece-Cyprus-Israel summit in Jerusalem
The Latest: Israel thanks Trump for Golan remarks

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu showcased his close relationship with the Trump administration on Wednesday, hosting U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo three weeks before an Israeli election. Mr. Trump wrote. The tweet could boost Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, a strong global ally of Mr. Trump's who is visiting Washington next week. His decision will be seen as a diplomatic coup for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"There's no question that, at the present moment, maintaining control of the Golan Heights is of strategic and security importance to the state of Israel - particularly given the ongoing violence and instability in Syria", he added.

The United States had foreshadowed the decision last week when the State Department issued its annual human rights report The report revised its usual description of the Golan Heights from "Israeli-occupied" to "Israeli-controlled". "Until then, premature United States recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan is a needlessly provocative move that violates worldwide law and does not enhance Israeli security".

Why does Israel want the Golan?

Omar Baddar, deputy director at the Arab American Institute, said Trump is marginalising the United States role in the world by disregarding worldwide law and pledging "full support for Israel's illegitimate acquisition of territory by force".

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas listens while US President Donald Trump makes a statement for the press before a meeting at the Palace Hotel during the 72nd United Nations General Assembly on September 20, 2017, in NY.

Trump's defense of Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights is welcome and historic.

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