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Trump tweets that Israel should have sovereignty over Golan Heights

22 March 2019

"Turkey supports Syria's territorial integrity", he added.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked Trump for the announcement.

Israel captured east Jerusalem and the Old City in the 1967 Mideast war, and for decades, US 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. "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".

After the modern state of Israel was founded in 1948, tens of thousands of acres of land in the Golan Heights was seized from Jewish associations which had purchased the land in the late 19th century.

Israel captured this key region from Syria during the Six Day War in 1967 and formally annexed the territory in 1981.

In gesture of appreciation, Netanyahu pointed out that "under President Trump, this partnership brought recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the transfer of the US Embassy to it".

Netanyahu tweeted his gratitude.

In a tweet Thursday, Trump said that after 52 years, it's important for the United States for fully recognize Israel's control over what he says is an area of "critical strategic and security importance to Israel" and stability in the region. "You made history", his office quoted him telling the U.S. president.

Lasensky said Trump's move seemed to be "totally devoid of strategic imperative" and possibly aimed at helping Netanyahu win the vote.

Earlier, US President Donald Trump tweeted that it was time for the US to fully recognize Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

Greece-Cyprus-Israel summit in Jerusalem
Trump: Time for US to recognize Israeli sovereignty over Golan Heights

The Golan Heights" role as a Middle East political football intensified this week when the State Department stopped referring to it as "Israeli-occupied' territory, a designation favored by Palestinians.

Such a move would upend decades of USA policy but fall in line with the Trump administration's pattern of lavishing Israel with symbolic gifts and political support.

Pressure on Iran, Netanyahu said, must be intensified now that the USA has reimposed sanctions on Tehran following Washington's withdrawal from a 2015 deal with world powers to limit the Iranian nuclear program.

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

Trump, whose decision previous year to move the US embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv angered Palestinians, faced some criticism for his latest move.

After Israel first seized the Golan Heights in 1967, Israeli citizens nearly immediately began settling in the area.

The announcement was flatly rejected by the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights.

"You could imagine what would have happened if Israel were not in the Golan", he said.

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

Why does Israel want the Golan?

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Trump tweets that Israel should have sovereignty over Golan Heights