WASHINGTON – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday that the United States should recognize Israel’s claims of sovereignty over the Golan Heights, territory that the country took over from Syria in a 1967 war.
The president 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 to the State of Israel and Regional Stability!”
If Washington were to mark their backing of Israel’s claim on the disputed territory, it would follow a series of supportive actions by the Trump administration, including moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.
It also comes ahead of what several analysts say will be a tough April 9 election for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been requesting for the U.S. to recognize the Golan Heights claim since February 2017.
Netanyahu tweeted his gratitude to the U.S. presidentsoon after, saying that “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.”
Israeli brought the part of the Heights they claim — which makes up a majority of the territory to the west of a United Nations-run sliver — under their administration and laws in 1981. The international community does not formally recognize the control.
Syria has been looking to regain control over the region, however, it has been engulfed in Civil War and the uprising and downfall of so-called Islamic State. Israel maintains that Iran is using Syria as a springboard to attack the country.
Netanyahu will visit Trump at the White House Mar. 25 and 26, including a planned dinner. The prime minister told the president in a phone call after the tweet was published that “you’ve made history”, Reuters’ Maayan Lubell reported.