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Trump decides to recognize Israel's claim to the Golan Heights: NPR



U.S. State Secretary Mike Pompeo, left, shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem Thursday.

Amir Cohen / AP


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Amir Cohen / AP

U.S. State Secretary Mike Pompeo, left, shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem Thursday.

Amir Cohen / AP

The Trump administration has supported Israel's claim for sovereignty over Golan Heights. The move comes weeks before Israeli election elections and returns to the position of US administrations for decades.

President Trump made the announcement via tweet Thursday.

"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!" The president wrote.

Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in a 1967 war and annexed the area, a feature not recognized by the United States or the international community. For years, the United States has tried to mediate a regional agreement that involves Israel exchanging captured territory for peace.

During the Trump administration, the United States has repeatedly approved controversial Israeli positions. In early March, the United States closed its Jerusalem consulate, which has been the leading diplomatic mission to the Palestinians, reported NPR's Daniel Estrin. It folded this job into the US Embassy to Israel.

Last year, the United States moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and supported Israel's claim that the city is its capital. Palestinians claim part of the city as the capital of their future state. Previously, the United States found that the status of the city would be determined in peace negotiations. After the US moved the embassy, ​​Palestinian leaders contact the Trump administration.

Washington has also closed most funds to the Palestinians and leaving unfinished school and wastewater projects in the West Bank.

  Map showing Golan Heights in relation to Israel and Syria

Trump's Golan Heights announcement came as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Jerusalem. Pompeo said the move was "really historic."

"President Trump made a bold decision to acknowledge that an important decision for the Israelis," said Pompeo.

Pompeo hosted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who praised the decision to recognize the Golan as a "miracle" during the week. Jewish people celebrate Purim's vacation.

Netanyahu is facing re-election in April, and he claims corruption charges and a rival who has tapped into public fatigue with a decade under the same leader.

"US policy as it pertains to the Golan Heights has probably been one of the most consistent and standing positions we have had on any Arab-Israeli problem," said Scott Lasensky, former US Ambassador adviser to Israel during the Obama administration.

Lasensky said that Trump's movement seemed to be "completely devoid of strategic imperative" and possibly aimed at helping Netanyahu win the vote. The Israeli leader visits Washington, DC next week.

The Palestinian peace negotiator Saeb Erekat initiated the Golan message and said that the US policy would bring "bloodshed into our region".

USA. State Secretaries have usually met Palestinian leaders as they visited the Associated Press reports, but Pompeo had not planned to visit Palestinian dignitaries.


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