Donald Trump: Time for US to recognize Israeli sovereignty over Golan

Clay Curtis
March 21, 2019

The announcement marks a diplomatic coup for Netanyahu, two weeks before elections, and four days before he is due to visit Washington.

Netanyahu thanked Pompeo for the Trump administration's strong stance against Iran, which Israel regards as an existential threat.

Within minutes, Netanyahu tweeted "Thank You President Trump!" He used the incident to repeat his goal of global recognition for Israel's claim on the area.

In early May, a number of positions in the Golan were struck by what Israel said were Iranian missiles fired from Syria. Water from the Golan travels to the Sea of Galilee and the Jordan River.

Donald Trump has announced that the USA will recognize Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights, captured from Syria in 1967, in a dramatic move likely to bolster Benjamin Netanyahu's hopes to win re-election, but which will also provoke global opposition.

The Golan Heights move was hinted at a week ago when the State Department changed its usual description of the area as "occupied" to "Israeli-controlled". The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the information had not yet been made public.

Asked about the bear-hug given to Netanyahu so close to the polling date, Pompeo told Israel's Channel 12: "My trip and frankly the prime minister's visit to Washington next week are about real pressing issues, things that matter to the world..."

Accusing Iranian leaders of seeking the "annihilation and destruction" of Israel, he pledged continued American support.

She also suggested that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee lobbying group was paying United States politicians to support Israel.

Netanyahu reiterated his pledge to keep Iran from entrenching itself militarily in neighbouring Syria, where the Islamic republic backs President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

President Donald Trump talks with journalists before departing the White House
President Donald Trump talks with journalists before departing the White House

Israel seized most of the Golan from Syria in the closing stages of the 1967 Middle East War, and thwarted a Syrian attempt to retake it in 1973.

Netanyahu said he was working closely with the U.S.

"Sadly, we in the United States have seen anti-Semitic language even in the great halls of our own capital", he said.

"Although the Iran Deal is not perfection, it is a critical global effort to ensure Iran doesn't acquire nuclear weapons".

"This pressure is working", he said. "We need to help them figure out how to do that", Pompeo said.

Israel captured east Jerusalem and the Old City in the 1967 Mideast war, and for decades, USA officials refrained from visiting the Western Wall with Israeli leaders to avoid the appearance of recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the city's most sensitive holy sites.

The step prompted the Palestinians to sever ties with the White House.

In addition to the Jerusalem recognition, the administration also has cut hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to the Palestinians, helping fuel a financial crisis for Abbas' Palestinian Authority.

Netanyahu is scheduled to meet with Trump at the White House twice next week. "It's a place that's important to many faiths and I'm looking forward to it".

Pompeo has said his trip has nothing to do with politics.

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