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Trump tweets that Israel should have sovereignty over Golan Heights

Trump tweets that Israel should have sovereignty over Golan Heights

The Golan Heights were part of Syria until 1967, when Israel captured most of the area in the Six Day War, occupying it and annexing it in 1981.

It is time for the US to "fully recognize" Israeli sovereignty on the Golan Heights, US President Donald Trump said Thursday in a Twitter message that confirmed a shift in American foreign policy hinted at for several weeks.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu & Secretary of State Mike Pompeo give remarks prior to their dinner this evening.

Trump tweeted, without providing any other details.

Donald Trump became the first sitting American president to visit the wall, the holiest site where Jews are allowed to pray, during his trip in May 2017. The official prime minister's Twitter page wrote. Netanyahu is facing a tough election next month.

US secretaries of state have usually met Palestinian leaders while visiting the region, the Associated Press reports, but Pompeo had no visits with Palestinian dignitaries planned.

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".

Already, the State Department took the surprise move last week to remove the phrase "occupied" when referring to Israeli sections of the Golan Heights in its 2018 human rights report. Trump declared his break with that policy in a tweet. He told reporters traveling with him in Jerusalem that the language is "there for a reason" and stressed that "it wasn't a mistake; it wasn't an error".

Mr Pompeo said his trip had nothing to do with politics or U.S. policy on Jerusalem, although for decades American officials refrained from visiting the Western Wall with Israeli leaders to avoid the appearance of recognising Israeli sovereignty over the city's most sensitive holy sites.

In a press conference with Pompeo, Netanyahu accused Iran of trying to set a terrorist network to target Israel in the Golan Heights.

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In the late 2000s, secret talks began between Syria and Israel that reportedly included the possibility that the territory would return to Damascus in exchange for a peace deal.

"I'm guessing it's not a big concern of Trump's but if the United States is going to recognize Israel's annexation of the Golan then it really has no basis on which to continue rejecting Russia's annexation of Crimea", Davidson said.

About 20,000 Israeli settlers live in the Golan, which overlooks Syrian territory.

Mr. Trump has maintained close ties with Israel since taking office.

Pompeo was asked about the issue, but declined to answer. But the gesture was perceived as unfairly siding with Israel and prompted the Palestinians to cut contacts with US officials.

The administration has been considering recognizing Israel's sovereignty over the strategic highlands, which Israel captured from Syria in 1967, for some time and Netanyahu had pressed the matter with visiting Secretary of State Mike Pompeo just a day earlier.

The Trump administration has backed Israel's claim to sovereignty over the Golan Heights. "We need to help them figure out how to do that", Pompeo said.

"Among the delighted will be Iran and Hezbollah, whose resistance pretensions will be gratuitously elevated above their sewer of transnational terror, drug running, and money laundering", Hof continued.

Secretary-General of the Arab League Ahmed Aboul Gheit announced that the league fully supports Syrian sovereignty over the Golan Heights.


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