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Trump Declares the US Recognizes Israel's Sovereignty over the Golan Heights

03-21-2019
Golan Heights Syria Border

JERUSALEM, Israel - President Donald Trump announced Thursday that the United States officially recognizes Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights, a move that defies international law and signals a significant change in US policy towards Israel. 

"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!" Trump tweeted. 

Prime Minister Benhamin Netanyahu's office applauded the move, saying, "At a time when Iran seeks to use Syria as a platform to destroy Israel, @POTUS Trump boldly recognizes Israeli sovereignty in the Golan Heights. Thank you President Trump!" 

The Golan Heights is a key territory near Israel's border with Syria. Israel captured this key region from Syria during the Six Day War in 1967 and formally annexed the territory in 1981. 

Until Trump's announcement, the United States and the international community have considered the Golan to be occupied Syrian territory. 

Last week, in its annual human rights report, the US State Department erased the phrase "Israeli-occupied" from the Golan Heights section, instead calling it "Israeli-controlled." 

In the same week, Israel Defense Forces exposed an Iranian-backed terror outpost on the Syrian Golan. 

“Anybody that cares about regional stability should be concerned about the fact that Hezbollah is trying to build a terror network on our doorstep,” IDF spokesman Jonathan Conricus said. “We will continue to use all means, overt and covert, to block Iran's effort to use Syria, Lebanon and Gaza as forward bases for attacking Israel,” he said.

Earlier this month, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) toured the Golan and pledged to push for the US to recognize Israel's sovereignty over the area.

"The Golan is not disputed. It is in the hands of Israel and will always remain in the hands of Israel," Graham said.

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