United States should ‘fully recognise’ Israeli sovereignty over Golan Heights, says Trump

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Shortly after entering office in January 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump visited the Western Wall, though without Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The Golan Heights were part of Syria until 1967, when Israel captured most of the area in the Six Day War, occupying it and annexing it in 1981.

Netanyahu's trip comes two weeks before Israel's general elections on April 9, in which he faces a formidable opponent in Benny Gantz, a former chief of staff of the Israeli army, now leading in his Blue and White Party in several Israeli polls.

Trump has recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital and moved the U.S. Embassy there from Tel Aviv, prompting the Palestinians to sever ties with the administration.

Netanyahu is scheduled to leave Sunday for a four day trip to America and will have ample opportunity to thank Trump for his largess, with not one, but two meetings with Trump scheduled.

Trump made his declaration in a tweet.

The worldwide community considers the Golan to be occupied territory, and Syria has demanded its return as a condition for any future peace agreement. Thank you President Trump!

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Pompeo, in comments to reporters en route to the Middle East, dismissed the suggestion that his meeting with Netanyahu could be seen as the United States intruding in the Israeli election in support of the prime minister.

Netanyahu, who is embroiled in a fierce re-election campaign ahead of April 9 voting, smiled broadly while delivering his own remarks. Mr. Trump wrote. The tweet could boost Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, a strong worldwide ally of Mr. Trump's who is visiting Washington next week.

The United Nations, which has a monitoring force on the Golan Heights, holds that it is occupied territory. Previously, the US held that the status of the city would be determined in peace talks.

A senior administration official said the president had been discussing his Golan move over the last few days with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, White House national security adviser John Bolton, senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt and US ambassador to Israel David Friedman.

Angering Palestinians and drawing worldwide concern, Trump broke with decades of U.S. Middle East policy by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital in 2017 and moving the American Embassy, which Pompeo will visit on Thursday, to the city last May.

Graham said that he and Senator Ted Cruz would work towards United States recognition of Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

In a new report, the area was called the 'Israeli-controlled Golan Heights'. The spot, which once housed the biblical Jewish Temples, is the holiest site in Judaism and today is home to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third-holiest site in Islam. In the past year, Israel has been lobbying the Trump administration and Congress to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the area. A formal U.S. recognition would likely force them to recommit to this policy, driving an unnecessary wedge between them and Israel.

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