U.S. President Donald Trump has recognized Israel’s sovereignty over the disputed Golan Heights — the rocky plateau that Israeli forces seized from Syria in the closing stages of the 1967 Six-Day War.
Syria also tried to retake the Golan Heights from Israeli forces during the 1973 Middle East war, but the surprise assault was repelled.
Signing a formal proclamation on March 25 at the White House, Trump said the United States should have recognized Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights “decades ago.”
“Today, aggressive action by Iran and terrorist groups in southern Syria, including Hezbollah, continue to make the Golan Heights a potential launching ground for attacks against Israel — very violent attacks,” Trump said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stood beside Trump at the White House as he signed the proclamation.
Netanyahu called the document a “bold proclamation” that marked a “historic day” that has transformed Israel’s “military victories” in the Golan Heights to a “diplomatic” victory.
“We hold the high ground and we shall never give it up,” Netanyahu said.
Netanyahu also said Trump’s proclamation made the alliance between Israel and America “stronger and greater than ever.”
Netanyahu’s strongest rival in the upcoming Israeli elections Benny Gantz addressed the Pro-Israel lobby in Washington and used the occasion to send a message to Iran.
Recently, there were reports that Iran hacked his cellphone, which Tehran has denied, but Netanyahu has tried to use the reports against his rival.
Alluding on Monday to his military exploits against Iranian threats while in uniform, Gantz directed a warning toward Tehran: “You know me, and not only from my cellphone.”