President Trump Backs Israeli Sovereignty Claim Over Golan Heights

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo left shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem Thursday

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo left shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem Thursday. Amir Cohen AP

But the final decision came this week as Trump held several meetings with his senior staff, this official said.

Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on Thursday emphasized the fundamental importance of states' territorial integrity under global law, criticizing U.S. President Donald Trump's remarks that the United States should recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, an area seized from Syria and annexed in a move never recognized by the worldwide community.

Many believe this deicison is long overdue.

Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in a 1967 war and annexed the territory, a move not recognized by the US or the worldwide community. The region has been a hotbed for battles in the Syrian Civil War.

Pompeo was hosted by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who praised the decision to recognize the Golan as a "miracle" during the week Jewish people celebrate the holiday of Purim.

Netanyahu's office said that he spoke to Trump by phone and thanked him personally for his decision, telling him: "You made history".

Last week, in its annual human rights report, the US State Department erased the phrase "Israeli-occupied" from the Golan Heights section, instead calling it "Israeli-controlled".

Danny Danon, Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, also praised Trump's declaration. "Well done, Mr President!" But 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.

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

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In addition to the official changes in position signaled by the bills introduced into Congress and the Human Rights Report from the State Department, still another message was recently sent from a US official regarding the Golan Heights.

The U.S. will be the first country to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan, which the rest of the global community regards as disputed territory occupied by Israel whose status should be determined by negotiations between Israel and Syria. It later annexed the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem in moves never recognised by the global community.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is continuing his diplomatic visit to the Middle East. The wall is one of Judaism's holiest spots, but located in mainly Palestinian east Jerusalem.

With strategic congressional backing, Netanyahu hopes for a public indication of movement from Trump during his visit to the White House on Monday and Tuesday. The Israeli leader visits Washington, D.C. next week.

Running for re-election under threat of indictment for corruption, Netanyahu is widely believed to be hoping that such strong United States diplomatic backing will help push him over the finish line.

A presidency statement by Greek Cyprus said Anastasiades was accompanied by Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides, Energy Minister George Lakkotrypis and Government Spokesman Prodromos Prodromou.

Standing together in Jerusalem Thursday, neither Netanyahu nor Pompeo mentioned the heated Israeli election campaign.

"I have no idea, I hear (Netanyahu's) doing okay".

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