Trump says US 'ready' to recognise illegally occupied Golan as 'Israeli'

Trump says US 'ready' to recognise illegally occupied Golan as 'Israeli'
2 min read
21 March, 2019
Donald Trump has said the US is ready to recognise Israel's illegal occupation of the Golan.
Golan has been illegally occupied by Israel since 1967 [Getty]
US President Donald Trump said in a tweet on Thursday that he is ready to recognise the Israeli occupation of the Syrian Golan Heights - something deemed illegal under international law.

The lands were illegally seized from Syria by Israel following a war in 1967, which the country effectively annexed in 1981 - an act not recognised by the international community, who still consider the land as Syrian.

"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!" he tweeted.

It follows the State Department's decision last week to change its description to the Golan Heights from "Israeli-occupied" to "Israeli-controlled", viewed as a move that would pave the way for Washington recognising Israel's illegal annexation of the Syrian territories.

Israeli media reported on Thursday that officials had told them the US will announce it grant Israel recognition of sovereignty over the Golan Heights during Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's visit to Washington next week.

Netanyahu welcomed Trump's vow to recognise Israel sovereignty over Golan soon after.
"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!" he tweeted in response.

Meanwhile on Thursday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo became the first high-ranking American official to visit the Western Wall with an Israeli prime minister.

His visit to Israel is seen as a boost to Binyamin Netanyahu's re-election campaign, where he has allied himself with a number of far-right parties.

In 2017, Trump broke with the international community by announcing Washington's recognition of the disputed city of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, rather than the previously accepted Tel Aviv.

He also pledged to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, a move that sparked protests across the Arab world.

Trump has promised to offer a "deal of the century" to secure peace between Israelis and Palestinians, although this has been widely derided by Ramallah, which broke off diplomatic relations with Washington following the Jerusalem move.

Agencies contributed to this story.