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Trump: 'Time to recognize Syrian Golan Heights as Israeli territory'

March 22, 2019 2:38 P.M. (Updated: March 26, 2019 10:29 A.M.)
WASHINGTON (Ma'an) -- United States President Donald Trump announced that it is time for the US to fully recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights, captured from Syria in 1967, in a dramatic move likely to provoke international opposition, on Thursday.

Following decades of previous US administrations treating the Golan Heights as an occupied Syrian territory, in line with United Nations Security Council resolutions, Trump decided to overturn that policy via tweet.

Trump posted a tweet on Twitter, saying “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!”

Alhough Trump said it was “time” for such action, it remained unclear that his statement constituted official recognition.

Trump defied a 52-year-old unanimously adopted UN resolution on “inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war” by announcing recognition plans.

In response to the tweet, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed gratitude for Trump’s statement, “At a time when Iran seeks to use Syria as a platform to destroy Israel, President Trump boldly recognizes Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Thank you President Trump!”

Trump announced his planned recognition of the occupied Golan Heights as Netanyahu was hosting the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, in Jerusalem City.

Netanyahu added, “President Trump has just made history.”

It is noteworthy that the announcement would likely help boost votes for Netanyahu's re-election, which is set to take place April 9th. Nevertheless, Trump denied his announcement was intended to help Netanyahu, saying “I wouldn’t even know about that. I have no idea.”
“This is sovereignty, this is security, this is about regional security,” Trump said.

It is noteworthy that in the recent annual Human Rights Report by the US, the administration dropped the term “occupation” from the Palestinian territories and the Syrian Golan Heights, even though it used to be mentioned in former reports and are in fact an occupied territory as deemed by the United Nations and international law.
Hence, the United States' recognition of the Golan Heights as Israeli territory could pave the way for the recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Palestinian territories.
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