Time for USA to recognize Israel's sovereignty over Golan Heights

US President Donald Trump shakes hands with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as they meet in the Oval Office of the White House

"At a time when Iran seeks to use Syria as a platform to destroy Israel, President Trump boldly recognises Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights".

Trump has consistently backed Israel when it comes to major regional disputes and previous year sparked controversy and outrage among Palestinians and others when he moved the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem and said the U.S. officially recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Regardless, the president's sentiment contradicts decades of USA policy, undermines the legitimacy of American opposition to Putin's annexation of Crimea, and will embolden right-wing forces in Israel who have been pushing for the annexation of the West Bank (a move that would ostensibly make Israel into a de jure apartheid state).

President Trump wrote on Twitter that Israel should have full sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which Israel seized from Syria during the 1967 Six-Day War.

Seventeen faculty members at the University of California, Berkeley, warned on Tuesday against the threat posed by the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment, .

Syria has demanded the Golan's return as a condition for any future peace agreement.

"The timing of Trump's Golan recognition is impeccable, and loaded with meaning: on the holiday of Purim, celebrating Jewish salvation from a Persian attempt to eradicate them".

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.

Washington has recognized the Golan as Syrian territory under Israeli occupation since the 1970s, subject to a negotiated settlement between the two nations still technically at war.

He said the move violates U.N. Security Council resolution 242, "which rules out acquiring territory by war and serves Israel as it says all states have right 2 live in peace".

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The Golan Heights move was hinted at a week ago when the State Department changed its usual description of the area as "occupied" to "Israeli-controlled".

Trump's move on Thursday was his most overt yet to help Netanyahu, who faces an April 9 election and is locked in a closely contested race at a time when he is battling corruption allegations, which he denies.

Netanyahu has for weeks been stepping up longstanding Israeli requests for the US and others to recognize Israel's sovereignty over the Golan.

Plans for the trip were announced during Netanyahu's meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday in Jerusalem. Reporters asked Pompeo about the issue, but he declined to answer.

After annexing the Golan, Israel gave the Druze the option of citizenship, but most rejected it and still identify as Syrian. The Golan Heights is indeed critical for Israel and the stability of the region.

Despite suffering heavy losses, Israeli thwarted the surprise assault and both countries signed an armistice in 1974. He has bolstered Israel's traditional argument that the area has for all practical purposes been fully integrated into Israel by accusing Iran of trying to infiltrate terrorists from Syria into the plateau.

"You could imagine what would have happened if Israel were not in the Golan", he said. "We would have Iran on the shores of the Sea of Galilee".

I'm guessing it's not a big concern of Trump's but if the U.S. is going to recognize Israel's annexation of the Golan then it really has no basis on which to continue rejecting Russia's annexation of Crimea.

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