Trump wants to recognize the Golan Heights as part of Israel

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President Trump has announced on Twitter that the US will recognize the territory that Israel is occupying as officially part of the country. The Golan Heights were captured from Syria by Israel in 1967 and later annexed in 1981.

It was in 1967, after Israel’s win in the six day war, that the country took control over the Golan Heights from Syria. Now, Donald Trump tweeted that “it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel’s Sovereignty over the Golan Heights”.

Donald J. Trump on Twitter

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!

The senior White House adviser Jason Greenblatt has backed up the president, tweeting that “under any conceivable circumstance, Israel could not give up the Golan” because that “would endanger Israel’s very existence”.

Israel’s prime-minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has already thanked the american president for this, “at a time when Iran seeks to use Syria as a platform to destroy Israel”. This show of support could help boost Netanyahu’s popularity, given the coming elections in April and amidst his recent corruption charges and controversial statements about non-jewish Israelis.

Reactions from around the world

However, the announcement has also drawn criticism from arab countries, especially Syria, that describes it as “irresponsible” and keeps claiming that “the Golan Heights was and will remain Syrian, Arab” and an “indivisible” part of the country.

Albout Gheit, from the Arab League, has also showed he is not happy with the decision. “No country, no matter how important it is, can make such a decision”, he said.

The European Union has also announced that it doesn’t share Trump’s thoughts on the matter. Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, claims that the EU’s position hasn’t changed and that the Israeli sovereignty over the area is not recognized.

Russia doesn’t agree either. According to spokesman Dmitry Peskov, Trump’s decision “is not helping the goals of the Middle East settlement, quite the other way around”. “Right now, it’s merely a declaration. Let’s hope it will stay this way”, Dmitry added.

Will other countries follow the US?

If Trump’s intention comes to fruition, the USA will be the first country to recognize the Golan Heights as part of Israel.

Just like the EU isn’t joining in, it’s unlikely this recognition will have international support. This because in 1981, shortly after the official annexation of the territory was approved in Israel’s parliament, the United Nations’ Security Council denounced the decision through Resolution 497, which described the annexation as “void and without international legal effect”.

So far, Trump’s administration has been close with Israel’s government. After the change of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in December 2017 (which Palestinians claim to also be their capital) and Netanyahu’s scheduled visit to the United States next week, this announcement further enforces the alliance between the current administration and Netanyahu’s government.

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