Time for the U.S. to 'recognize Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights'

Blanche Robertson
March 21, 2019

Donald Trump has announced that the U.S. 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 worldwide opposition. What wasn't controlled by Israel was controlled by the Syrian government before their civil war.

"After 52 years it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel's Sovereignty over the Golan Heights", Trump said in a tweet.

O'Rourke said at the time that he was not against the Iron Dome but he could not support sending $225 million to Israel without any debate or discussion.

On the sidelines of the summit, Anastasiades was expected to hold bilateral meetings with Netanyahu and Pompeo.

Minutes after Trump's tweet, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted his appreciation.

The move comes after the US State Department dropped the word "occupied" in relation to the Golan Heights in its annual human rights report for 2018, published last week. In recent years, Israel has carried out many airstrikes in Syria to halt what it says are Iranian arms transfers to the Hezbollah militant group, and to prevent Iran from establishing a permanent military presence in the country. Water from the Golan travels to the Sea of Galilee and the Jordan River.

Netanyahu, who faces an election in Israel on April 9, has been pressing for the United States to recognise its claim to sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

Netanyahu's party overtakes Gantz coalition ahead of election
His change of heart came shortly after reports that Netanyahu had sold stock in a company that supplied services to ThyssenKrupp. Benny Gantz, head of Blue and White joint list, speaks to the media in Kibbutz Nir Am, Israel, March 15, 2019.

Pompeo, Netanyahu and U.S. Ambassador David Friedman together approached the wall and each leaned against its massive stones with one hand.

A formal announcement of the shift in USA policy looks set to come when Mr Netanyahu visits Washington next week.

Later that year Trump reversed decades of USA policy and officially recognized Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, though making clear that he was not prejudging a settlement on where the city's borders should be. "We need to help them figure out how to do that", Pompeo said.

The Palestinians have pre-emptively rejected a peace plan the White House is said to be preparing, saying that the Trump administration is unfairly biased toward Israel. Netanyahu raised the possibility of USA recognition in his first White House meeting with Trump in February 2017.

"I was looking at the border wall as though I was in Chihuahuita looking at Mexico and talking to people who lived in that village and what they experienced this last summer and learning from them how they literally watched rockets arching over their heads, northbound", O'Rourke said.

Pompeo, now on a Middle East tour, visited Kuwait before Israel and is due to proceed to Lebanon.

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