President Donald Trump announced in a March 21 tweet that he is recognizing Israel’s full sovereignty over the Golan Heights in Syria.
Trump tweeted, “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!”
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 21, 2019
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a March 21 joint press conference with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that Trump’s declaration is “a miracle of Purim.”
“First he recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, then he pulled out of the disastrous nuclear deal with Iran, and now he has perhaps made the most important decision,” Netanyahu said. “The message he has given the world is that America stands with Israel. We are deeply grateful for the great support and the unmatchable support for the security of the State of Israel. There is no greater friendship than that between the United States and Israel.”
He added, “This evening I want to say just one word: Thank you.”
Pompeo called Trump’s recognition of the Golan Heights “a bold and important decision.”
“It shows that the soldiers Israel lost in battle there have been worthy and meaningful and important,” Pompeo said.
Simon Wiesenthal Associate Dean Rabbi Abraham Cooper said in a statement, “President Trump is right. Tyrant [Syrian President Bashar al-]Assad killed [a] half million-plus of his own people, displaced millions, now Tehran’s lackey. Israeli Golan sovereignty protects Jewish state, Jordan, from Iran-led terror. Jewish presence on Golan traces to 5 century BCE. Druze, Jews, and Arabs safer knowing Assad will never return.”
The Israel Policy Forum said in a statement, “Israel Policy Forum supports U.S. recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Prior to its capture by Israel in 1967, the Golan was used for decades as a launching ground for attacks against Israel and its northern residents. It is a critical strategic asset in Israel’s defense of its northern border, and the presence of hostile Iranian forces and militias in Syria – including IRGC [Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps] and Hezbollah fighters – only reinforces the strategic imperative of Israeli control over the territory.”
However, the Israel Policy Forum expressed concern that the move could “risk inflaming the situation in southern Syria by baiting Syrian forces or other pro-regime elements into carrying out a response” and that it would lead toward Israel annexing Judea and Samaria.
“We call on the Trump administration to unequivocally state that recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan has no bearing on the status of the West Bank, and that U.S. policy remains that any change in the West Bank’s status quo must come as a result of a negotiated agreement between Israel and the Palestinians,” the Israel Policy Forum said.