Donald Trump tweeted that the U.S. should officially recognize Israeli control of the occupied Golan Heights, a region once part of Syria that has Israel has claimed as its own since 1981.
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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 21, 2019
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pressed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on the U.S. recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the territory this week during Pompeo’s visit to Israel. As of yesterday, Pompeo had not hinted at any change in the U.S.’s position on the issue.
Pompeo in Kuwait today was asked if the U.S. considers the Golan Heights and the West Bank occupied territories or not. His only response was that the US policy had not changed. via pool pic.twitter.com/fmqAHJtbWW— John Hudson (@John_Hudson) March 20, 2019
Observers commented that the tweet appeared to be a nod to Netanyahu’s reelection, ahead of Israeli elections on April 9.
The people in the Golan Heights avoided Assad’s genocidal campaign b/c Israel controlled the territory. No one serious should want Israel to give it back to Syria. But announcing that right before Israeli elections is obvious pro-Netanyahu electioneering, and that’s the problem. https://t.co/lIybFkZwI0— (((Yair Rosenberg))) (@Yair_Rosenberg) March 21, 2019
Trump’s recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights gives Bibi a big boost and comes with hardly any political cost for Trump. Europe, US natsec establishment and even Arab partners won’t put up a too much of a fight— Nathan Guttman (@nathanguttman) March 21, 2019
Others view the tweet as a provocation, since Syria has continued to push for the return of the territory, and it is widely understood that Israel has no plans to give the territory back.
By tweet, Trump upends over 50 years of US policy. Amazing decision that recognizes what the entire world already knows - Israel is not giving up the Golan. https://t.co/LYH1Xx1pmq— Yaakov Katz (@yaakovkatz) March 21, 2019
As I noted yesterday for @bopinion, this folly demolishes the principle that countries can’t acquire territory through war. Kiss the UN charter and international law goodbye. Putin and co can grab anything they like now:https://t.co/lpgQaZtUt8 https://t.co/BZoI2M7wFN— Hussein Ibish (@Ibishblog) March 21, 2019