Trump accepts Israeli sovereignty over Golan Heights

Enlarge this image

Enlarge this image

In 2017, Trump broke with decades of US policy on Jerusalem and recognized the city as Israel's capital, while a recent State Department report human rights bucked tradition and used the phrase "Israeli-controlled", rather than "Israeli-occupied", to describe the Golan Heights, the West Bank and Gaza.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has intensified a push for USA recognition of Israeli control over disputed territory with Syria, hoping that President Donald Trump will deliver a major diplomatic victory during his visit to Washington two weeks before his toughest election yet.

Trump's statement has given a boost to Netanyahu in the middle of his re-election campaign.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Trump's "unfortunate" declaration has brought the region 'to the brink of a new crisis and new tensions'.

"I think it's time that the worldwide community recognize Israel's stay in the Golan", Netanyahu said, "the fact that the Golan will always remain part of the state of Israel". Identical bills in the Senate and House introduced by Cruz and Gallagher would also include the Golan Heights as part of Israel in any spending and trade bills while greenlighting joint scientific, industrial and agricultural projects in the occupied territory.

At a meeting with Pompeo, Israel's President Reuven Rivlin expressed his deep concern about the Palestinians, both in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip and under the internationally backed Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.

The strategic plateau (pictured in file image) was seized from Syria by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War and has been disputed ever since.

Asked about reports that the United States is considering recognizing Israeli control over the Golan area, Pompeo declined to provide a definitive answer. He is a vice president and the director of the Middle East Program at the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars here in Washington. "It's very rare for a secretary of state to come visit an Israeli prime minister without any apparent diplomatic reason justifying it, without a peace process, without any regional agenda".

Trump's move is pure and unadulterated domestic politics - helping Netanyahu get reelected is great for Trump's politics; but it's not a compelling USA national interest.

In fact, in 2015, President Barack Obama refused to meet with Netanyahu close to his election date, saying, "He needs to be far away enough from the election that it doesn't look like in some ways we're meddling or putting our thumbs on the scale".

"The trip to the wall is something that I've been talking with PM Netanyahu about doing some time ago. But I would imagine the other side whoever's against him is also in favor of what I just did".

Trump's latest shakeup comes ahead of the expected unveiling of a White House plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace. Palestinian leaders, who broke off contact with Washington after the recognition of Jerusalem by Trump, say they expect the plan to be blatantly biased in favor of Israel.

"It's hard not to put two and two together", Panetta said on CNN. "It is in the hands of Israel and will always remain in the hands of Israel", Graham said from a cliff overlooking Syria, where Syrian flags could be seen fluttering in the distance on buildings damaged in the country's civil war.

Latest News