Golan Heights: Why is the U.S. foreign policy shift so important?

Mike Pompeo

Donald Trump announces US should recognise Israeli annexation of Golan Heights

U.S. President Donald Trump's abrupt declaration that Washington will recognize Israel's sovereignty over the disputed Golan Heights drew strong condemnation from Syria, while the European Union and countries like Egypt and Russian Federation also rejecting the overture.

Netanyahu tweeted his thanks to Mr. Trump, calling it a bold decision - quote - "at a time when Iran seeks to use Syria as a platform to destroy Israel".

"The US government's @realDonaldTrump attempts to legitimate Israel's illegal actions towards Golan Heights mean nothing but supporting Israel's policy of occupation and deepening the conflict in the region", Kalin added.

The Western Wall is located underneath the Old City's Muslim Quarter in eastern Jerusalem, also captured by the Israelis in the Six-Day War.

After Netanyahu began lobbying Trump on the issue past year, Republicans on the House Oversight Committee held a hearing urging the president to declare the Golan Heights part of Israel.

Mr Pompeo said his trip had nothing to do with politics or United States policy on Jerusalem, although for decades American officials refrained from visiting the Western Wall with Israeli leaders to avoid the appearance of recognising Israeli sovereignty over the city's most sensitive holy sites.

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It is located near a Palestinian refugee camp in the West Bank, the territory occupied by Israel for more than 50 years. The Palestinian Health Ministry identified them as 21-year-old Raed Hamadan and 20-year-old Zeid Nouri.

Russia, an ally of President Bashar al-Assad with forces in Syria, said Trump's comments risked seriously destabilising the region, and it voiced hope the statement was just declaratory.

According to a report by The New York Times, Netanyahu urged the United States to recognize Israel's sovereignty over the area during a meeting with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Separately, the minister called on USA firms to take part in tenders in Lebanon, noting that a "Russian-American" economic alliance can be reached in terms of economic projects in the country.

Trump announced the shift during Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's visit to Jerusalem. Democrats on the panel argued that they supported Israeli control over the occupied territory, but that declaring formal Israeli sovereignty would undermine prospects for Israeli-Palestinian peace.

The Arab world is divided, and USA and Israeli officials may be betting no one will go to battle for Assad at this point.

During a visit here, US Senator Lindsey Graham said he'd push Congress to recognize the area as part of Israel because it's good for America. "Add this to the Embassy move to Jerusalem, signing the Taylor Force Act into law, fighting against anti-Israel & anti-Semitic hate at the United Nations & elsewhere, & withdrawing from the flawed Iran deal!", he tweeted.

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When Trump did so, he said it did not determine the city's eventual borders, but Palestinians viewed the US action as tipping the scales toward Israeli control and cut ties with the U.S. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World. "They're going to fail again", Netanyahu said.

Pompeo said, "The Israelis and Palestinians live side by side".

"Now we need Congress to codify this policy", Neil Strauss, the digital director for the Republican Jewish Coalition, told Al-Monitor.

"Some will say that this is 'Trump's election gift to Netanyahu.' Some will say that these are 'two people in legal troubles who are convinced that there is a global conspiracy to topple them, '" wrote Alon Pinkas in Yedioth Ahronoth.

The move was seen as a potential major boon to the prime minister weeks before a general election.

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