Trump says USA should 'fully recognise' Israeli sovereignty over Golan Heights

Trump says USA should 'fully recognise' Israeli sovereignty over Golan Heights

A change in the USA view of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which it captured from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War, along with the West Bank from Jordan and the Gaza Strip from Egypt, was also hinted at last week when the State Department changed its usual description of the plateau from "Israeli-occupied" to "Israeli-controlled" in an annual global human rights report.

President Trump declared that the United States should recognize Israel's sovereignty of the disputed territory in the Golan Heights, breaking with a half-century of US policy over the region.

During Pompeo's Jerusalem trip, there was also speculation that his Western Wall visit with Netanyahu could be interpreted as tacit approval of Israel's claim to sovereignty over the site.

"The European Union, in line with global law, does not recognize Israel's sovereignty over the territories occupied by Israel since June 1967, including the Golan Heights and does not consider them to be part of Israel's territory".

Together they are driving a Senate resolution introduced last month - exclusively with Republican support- that would declare it in the USA national security interest to "ensure Israel retains control over the Golan Heights" and out of the hands of Syrian President Bashar Assad and proxy forces from Iran.

As of this writing, the White House has refused to tell the public whether Trump was expressing a presidential order in his tweet, or merely a personal opinion.

"President Trump made a bold decision to recognize that, an important decision to the people of Israel", Pompeo said.

UN Resolution 242 calls for Israel to withdraw from Golan and other territories it occupied in 1967, including Gaza and the West Bank.

It now reads "Israeli-controlled territory", language that strays from that used by previous U.S. administrations.

"President Trump's decision to recognise the Golan as part of Israel is strategically wise and overall awesome".

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Netanyahu's trip comes two weeks before Israel's general elections on April 9, in which he faces a formidable opponent in Benny Gantz, a former chief of staff of the Israeli army, now leading in his Blue and White Party in several Israeli polls.

But in a tweet that appeared to catch many by surprise, Trump said the time had come for the United States to take the step, which Netanyahu warmly welcomed as a "miracle" on the Jewish holiday of Purim. Reporters asked Pompeo about the issue, but he declined to answer.

Iran said the statement was "unacceptable".

Accusing the mad Mullahs of seeking the "annihilation and destruction" of Israel, he pledged continued United States support.

USA and Israeli officials said Wednesday they had not expected a decision until next week, when Netanyahu is to visit the U.S. Israel will vote on April 9.

There was also quick approval from the senior Republican in the US Senate, Lindsey Graham, who is pushing for Congress to recognize Israeli control over the Golan. A United Nations observer force has been in place on the ceasefire line since that year.

The Golan is home to about 20,000 Israeli settlers.

Syria has demanded the Golan's return as a condition for any future peace agreement. "We will never allow the legitimation of the occupation of the Golan Heights", he said. While the annexation is effectively recognized as illegal under global law, Israel has never seriously entertained giving the territory back to Syria. For some time, the administration has been considering recognizing Israel's sovereignty over the strategic highlands, which Israel captured from Syria in 1967. "You would have Iran on the shores of the Sea of Galilee".

But the Trump administration has upended the longstanding policy, moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem a year ago after recognizing the city as Israel's capital.

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