US President Donald Trump has argued that the US recognizes Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which have been in power since 1967. After 52 years, it is time for the United States to do so, Trump wrote on Twitter ahead of a planned visit by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Nethanjahu to Washington next week.
Israel had annexed the Golan Heights in 1981, which was not recognized internationally. According to international law, the territories are considered Israeli-occupied territory of Syria.
The Golan Heights are a strategically important rocky plateau above the Sea of Galilee with the city of Tiberias and densely populated areas in northern Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continues to seek international recognition of the Golan Heights as Israeli. „The Golan is part of Israel, the Golan must remain part of Israel forever,“ he said recently.
Recently, the US State Department changed its wording on the status of the Golan Heights. In a report on the human rights situation in Israel, the ministry described the areas as „controlled by Israel.“ Last year, both the Golan Heights and the 1967 conquered West Bank and Gaza Strip areas were still considered occupied by Israel.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on a visit to Jerusalem Thursday that the new wording in the report was not a mistake. She was chosen very consciously.