Trump says time for USA to recognise Israeli sovereignty over Golan

Trump says time for USA to recognise Israeli sovereignty over Golan

Currently, the US designation of Golan Heights is that of disputed territory after Israel captured the region from Syria in 1967 during the Middle East War. The population of the region is now a mix of Syrian Arabs and Israeli settlers.

Trump's abrupt announcement was immediately cheered by Netanyahu, who faces a tough reelection battle and visits Washington next week.

The presidential order enraged Palestinians, who see the largely Palestinian region of East Jerusalem as the future capital of a Palestinian nation qhose existence the US hasn't acknowledged.

Trump enjoys sky-high approval ratings in Israel, and his embrace of Netanyahu so close to the elections, coupled with delivering a long-sought recognition, could impact the outcome of the Israeli election. "Well done, Mr. President!"

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday lauded the White House's warm ties with Israel during a visit to the country and promised to step up pressure on Iran, giving a public boost to Israel's prime minister at the height of a tight re-election campaign. Netanyahu's spokesman tweeted out this picture of a phone call with President Trump. Pompeo, whose head was covered with a kippah, talked to rabbis, put a note between the wall's stones that remained from the Jewish temples destroyed in ancient times, and stood in silence, keeping his hand on the wall.

Israel instead enacted a law that effectively annexed the western two-thirds of the Golan Heights in 1981 following years of squabbling over the resolution.

President Donald Trump talks with journalists before departing the White House
President Donald Trump talks with journalists before departing the White House

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.

But that annexation has not been recognized by the global community, which has regarded the Golan Heights as occupied territory and Israeli settlements there as illegal under worldwide law. We had a moving visit today to the Wall. The spot, which once housed the biblical Temples, is the holiest site in Judaism and today is home to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third-holiest site in Islam.

Pompeo said he did not know why neither Trump nor Pence visited the site with Netanyahu, and declined to say whether it indicated a change in how the United States sees the status of the Western Wall. "They're going to fail again", Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu had previously urged top United States officials to make the declaration and he is expected to meet with Trump at the White House in the coming days. "With such threats a daily reality of Israeli life, we maintain our unparalleled commitment to Israel's security and firmly support your right to defend yourself", he said.

Trump's move appeared to be his most overt yet to help Netanyahu, who is locked in a closely contested race in the April 9 election while also fighting allegations of corruption, which he denies.

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