Washington, Mar 22: US President Donald Trump announced on Thursday that the time has come to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, a move that is considered a huge gift to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu just three weeks before the election.
Trump tweeted " 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!,”
Following the announcement, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with Trump by phone to thank him. PM Netanyahu tweeted " 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 Donald J. Trump!, BBC reported.
He said that the US president “has just made history,” and that he “thanked him on behalf of the people of Israel.” The announcement came as Netanyahu was hosting the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo in Jerusalem.
Meanwhile, Pompeo said “President Trump made a bold decision to recognize that, an important decision for the people of Israel.”
On Wednesday, Israeli and US officials had said they expected an announcement on US recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan could come next week.
Golan Heights is a rocky plateau, covering about 1,200 sq km (400 sq miles), located about 60km (40 miles) south-west of the Syrian capital, Damascus holding a strategic significance. Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria during the Six-Day War of 1967 and annexed it in 1981.
The Golan is internationally recognised as occupied territory and Syria has demanded its return as a condition in the event of a future peace agreement. UNI