Israel thanks Trump for Golan remarks

Israel thanks Trump for Golan remarks

FILE PHOTO: Israeli soldiers stand in an open area near Mount Bental, an observation post in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights that overlooks the Syrian side of the Quneitra crossing, Israel, January 21, 2019.

Trump will host Netanyahu at the White House next Monday and Tuesday.

Despite his comments, the United States president does not have the moral or legal authority to grant Israel sovereignty over Syrian land, Awad told MEE.

"I still remember some people telling me during the last election that Trump would be tougher on Israel than Clinton", Hasan tweeted.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accompanied Israel's prime minister on a visit to the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City on Thursday in the first such gesture since Washington recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital, angering Palestinians.

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.

Together they are driving a Senate resolution introduced last month - exclusively with Republican support- that would declare it in the USA national security interest to "ensure Israel retains control over the Golan Heights" and out of the hands of Syrian President Bashar Assad and proxy forces from Iran.

"Like so many actions taken by the Trump administration on Israel, US recognition of Israeli sovereignty over [the] Golan would be a political gimmick driven by domestic politics, " former US Middle East peace negotiator Aaron David Miller said.

With strategic congressional backing, Netanyahu hopes for a public indication of movement from Trump during his visit to the White House on Monday and Tuesday. "You can imagine what would have happened if Israel were not in the Golan", Netanyahu told Pompeo.

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However, in comments to reporters ahead of a Purim dinner with Netanyahu and his wife at their Jerusalem home, Pompeo hailed the shift.

Also on Wednesday, together with Pompeo in Jerusalem, Netanyahu held a summit with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

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

Indeed, the United States president has recently called on Jewish-Americans to abandon the Democratic Party, pointing to his own staunchly pro-Israel policies, including moving the USA embassy to Jerusalem and withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal.

In a press conference with Pompeo, Netanyahu accused Iran of trying to set a terrorist network to target Israel in the Golan Heights.

Pompeo had brushed questions about the change aside, insisting even earlier Thursday that there was no change in policy.

It considers the entire city its capital, while the Palestinians see the eastern sector as the capital of their future state.

He said Trump's declaration is of "equal historical importance" to his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital and his withdrawal from the worldwide nuclear deal with Iran.

The United Nations weeks later called on Israel to withdraw from the territory, and from the West Bank and Gaza in a resolution that also declared that Israel had the same right as Arab states 'to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force'.

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