AP NEWS

Trump: It’s time for U.S. to recognize Israeli control of Golan Heights

March 21, 2019

President Trump said Thursday the U.S. should recognize Israel’s control of the Golan Heights, a disputed stretch of land that Israelis captured from Syria during the Six Day War in 1967 and then effectively annexed.

“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!” Mr. Trump said on Twitter.

The president’s push is sure to enthuse Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a close Trump ally, ahead of his visit to Washington next week.

Mr. Netanyahu reportedly pressed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to change U.S. policy so that it endorsed Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, rather than considering it as land occupied by Israel.

The Israeli leader, who faces reelection next month amid the specter of corruption charges, warned that the Iran-backed Hezbollah movement was growing in influence near the site.

“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!” Mr. Netanyahu tweeted after Mr. Trumps statement.

Republican Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Ted Cruz of Texas are pushing a bill that would make it U.S. policy to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

The Republican Jewish Coalition said the bond between the two leaders made the move possible, while GOP allies on Capitol Hill lavished praise on the president.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican who’s become one of Mr. Trump’s most vocal supporters, called it “strategically wise” and “awesome.”

He said it’s time for Congress to follow Mr. Trump’s lead, referring to a bill from Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas that would make it U.S. policy to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights.