Time for the USA to 'recognize Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights'


The president's tweet represents a departure from US policy, which has for years referred to the territory seized by Israel from Syria over 50 years ago as the "Israeli-occupied Golan Heights".

At the meeting, the two men discussed the buildup of Hezbollah terror networks along Israel's northern border with Syria on the Golan Heights. "But I would imagine the other side, whoever's against him, is also in favor of what I just did", Trump said.

"After 52 years it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel's Sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which is of critical strategic and security importance to the State of Israel and Regional Stability!" he wrote.

Also on Wednesday, together with Pompeo in Jerusalem, Netanyahu held a summit with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

"President's Trump's recognition of Israeli sovereignty on the Golan is another achievement for Netanyahu's foreign policy", said Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely. "Thank you, Mr. President", he said.

Trump's abrupt announcement was immediately cheered by Netanyahu, who faces a tough reelection battle and visits Washington next week.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was in Israel this week and lauded the White House's strong ties with the country.

"It's time that the U.S. and the global community recognize that Israel is staying on the Golan and the fact that the Golan will always remain part of the State of Israel", the prime minster said.

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The Golan recognition is only the latest diplomatic bombshell dropped by Washington, which is Israel's main backer, in seeking to redraw the fraught Middle East map.

Trump called the Golan - a strategic area seized from Syria and annexed in a move never recognized by the global community - "of critical strategic and security importance to the State of Israel and Regional Stability!"

"Neither America nor Israel, neither Trump nor Netanyahu, will change the historical fact that the Golan lands are Syrian lands and they will remain Syrian lands", Ayman Abu Jabal, a member of the Druze community in the Israeli-occupied Golan, said by phone.

Netanyahu has accused Iran of attempting to set up a terrorist network to target Israel from the Golan Heights, using the incident to repeat his goal of worldwide recognition for Israel's claim on the area.

Pompeo explained that one of the main reasons for his visit to the region was to advance efforts begun last month at a gathering in Poland to build a regional alliance against Iran. "They're going to fail again", Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu is scheduled to meet with Trump at the White House twice next week. "With such threats a daily reality of Israeli life, we maintain our unparalleled commitment to Israel's security and firmly support your right to defend yourself", he said.

The US secretary of state also noted Iranian calls for Israel's destruction.