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United States recognition of the Golan Heights as part of Israel

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Proclamation on Recognizing the Golan Heights as Part of the State of Israel
President Trump Welcome the Prime Minister of Israel to the White House, 25 March 2019.jpg
U.S. President Donald Trump, joined by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu behind, signs the proclamation.
Presidential proclamation
Date signedMarch 25, 2019 (2019-03-25)
Signed byDonald Trump

The United States recognized the Golan Heights as part of Israel through a presidential proclamation signed by U.S. President Donald Trump on March 25, 2019. The directive made the United States the first country, other than Israel, to recognize Israeli rather than Syrian sovereignty over the Golan Heights region.[1] The Golan Heights are widely viewed as Syrian territory under Israeli military occupation.[2]

The proclamation was seen as a political gift from Trump to help Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's bid in the April 2019 Israeli legislative election, to be held two weeks after the recognition.[3] The proclamation was criticized by those who had previously been critical of Israel's recognition, with Syria calling it a "blatant attack" on its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Background

Location of the Golan Heights, Syrian territory captured by Israel in 1967

Israel captured Golan from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War and formally annexed it with the Golan Heights Law in 1981, in a move that was not internationally recognized.[4] The international community has condemned the capture and annexation as an illegal military occupation by Israel.[2]

In December 2017, Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moved the U.S. embassy to the city, despite the international community viewing East Jerusalem as under Israeli military occupation.

Announcement

On March 21, 2019, U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted that it was "time for the United States to fully recognize Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights."[5] The move was welcomed by Israel.[6] Dozens of people from the Druze community in the Golan Heights protested against Trump's announcement.[7]

Four days later, on 25 March 2019, in a joint press conference in Washington with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump signed a proclamation stating that "the United States recognizes that the Golan Heights are part of the State of Israel."[8][9]

The proclamation was signed in the context of Trump accusing his political opponents of allegedly making "anti-Semitic" comments in prior weeks. Trump designed the proclamation signing and Netanyahu's visit the United States just two weeks prior to the April 2019 Israeli legislative election as a boost to Netanyahu's bid. The proclamation is also expected to raise Trump's popularity amongst pro-Israel voters in the United States.[3]

Justification for the proclamation

American officials

The proclamation cited "aggressive acts by Iran and terrorist groups, including Hizballah, in southern Syria" as justification for Israel to maintain sovereignty over the Golan Heights as Israel has a "need to protect itself from Syria and other regional threats."

In refuting a supposed double standard in recognizing Israel's annexation of the Golan Heights but placing sanctions on Russia for annexing Crimea in 2014, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said "What the President did with the Golan Heights is recognize the reality on the ground and the security situation necessary for the protection of the Israeli state. It’s that — it’s that simple." A State Department spokesperson said the day following the proclamation that "Israel gained control of the Golan through its legitimate response to Syrian aggression aimed at Israel’s destruction. Russia has occupied Crimea despite the fact that it has recognized Crimea as part of Ukraine in bilateral agreements, and despite its international obligations and commitments, including core OSCE principles.”[10]

Israeli officials

Netanyahu said at the press conference following the announcement that "Israel won the Golan Heights in a just war of self-defense," referring to the 1967 war that began with Israel launching controversial pre-emptive strikes as Egypt, Jordan, and Syria began mobilizing troops towards its border. An anonymous Israeli official echoed Netanyahu's statement, telling The Washington Post that the recognition of the Golan Heights was justified since the occupied territory was gained in a "defensive war".[10]

Reactions

The United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said that "the status of Golan has not changed,"[4][11] and the US's move resulted in condemnation, criticism or rejection from the European Union,[12][13][14] United Kingdom, Germany, France, Belgium, Spain, Poland, South Africa, Turkey, Egypt, the Arab League, Russia,[4][15][16] Ireland,[17] Saudi Arabia,[18] Oman,[19] the United Arab Emirates,[20] Bahrain,[21] Qatar,[22] Kuwait,[23], Jordan,[24] Iraq,[25] Iran,[26], Mauritania,[27] Morocco,[28] Tunisia,[29] Somalia,[30] Lebanon,[31] Japan,[32] Cuba,[33] Venezuela,[34] Indonesia,[35] Canada,[36] Pakistan,[37] Sudan,[38] Malaysia,[39] Vietnam,[40] and China.[41]

Syria called the move a "blatant attack" on its sovereignty and territorial integrity and maintained that it had a right to reclaim the territory.[4] The state-owned news organization Syrian Arab News Agency reported that protests were held in several Syrian provinces against Trump’s declaration.[42] Hezbollah's Hassan Nasrallah, whose group was mentioned as a threat to Israel in the proclamation, stated that "resistance, resistance, and resistance" was the only way to take back the Israeli-occupied territories.[43]

The move was praised by Israeli leaders across the political spectrum, including President Reuven Rivlin, Opposition Leader Shelly Yachimovich, Labor leader Avi Gabbay,[44] Blue and White leader Benny Gantz,[45] Speaker Yuli Edelstein, Kulanu leader Moshe Kahlon, and New Right co-leaders Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked.[46]

Aftermath

Unveiling of the sign to Trump Heights in June 2019

On April 23, 2019, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that he will bring a resolution for government approval to name a new community in the Golan Heights after Trump.[47] On June 16, 2019, Israel announced the establishment of Trump Heights, a planned settlement in the Golan Heights.[48]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Trump formally recognises Israeli sovereignty over Golan Heights". Al Jazeera. Retrieved March 25, 2019.
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^ a b Kevin Liptak (March 25, 2019). "Trump greets embattled Netanyahu, signs Golan Heights proclamation". CNN. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d "Trump recognizes Golan Heights as Israeli, boosting Netanyahu and angering Syria". Reuters. March 25, 2019. Retrieved March 25, 2019.
  5. ^ Trump, Donald [@realDonaldTrump] (March 21, 2019). "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!" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  6. ^ "Trump: Time to recognise Golan as Israeli". BBC News. March 21, 2019. Retrieved March 21, 2019.
  7. ^ "Druze protest Trump's backing of Israeli sovereignty on Golan". Reuters. March 23, 2019. Retrieved March 25, 2019.
  8. ^ Trump, Donald J. (March 25, 2019). "Proclamation on Recognizing the Golan Heights as Part of the State of Israel". The White House. Retrieved March 25, 2019.
  9. ^ Landler, Mark; Halbfinger, David M. (March 25, 2019). "Trump, With Netanyahu, Formally Recognizes Israel's Authority Over Golan Heights". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved March 25, 2019.
  10. ^ a b Adam Taylor; Loveday Morris (March 26, 2019). "To Israel, Trump's Golan Heights decision is a no-brainer: It says occupying territory gained in a defensive war is justifiable". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
  11. ^ "U.N. chief clear that Golan status has not changed: spokesman". March 25, 2019 – via www.reuters.com.
  12. ^ https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2019/03/27/declaration-by-the-high-representative-on-behalf-of-the-eu-on-the-golan-heights/
  13. ^ https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/israel-golan-heights-eu-trump-netanyahu-syria-middle-east-a8843311.html
  14. ^ Landau, Noa (March 22, 2019). "EU Says Does Not Recognize Israeli Sovereignty Over Golan Heights" – via Haaretz.
  15. ^ "Europe at UN says Golan is not Israeli territory". France 24. March 26, 2019.
  16. ^ "Spanish position on the Golan Heights". www.exteriores.gob.es.
  17. ^ https://www.dfa.ie/news-and-media/press-releases/press-release-archive/2019/march/statement-by-the-tanaiste-on-irelands-position-on-the-golan-heights.php
  18. ^ "KSA rejects and denounces the declaration issued by the US Administration to recognize Israel's sovereignty over the occupied Syrian Golan Height The official Saudi Press Agency".
  19. ^ "Sultanate (of Oman) says Golan Heights are Syrian land occupied by Israel".
  20. ^ "UAE expresses regret, condemnation of US decision on Golan The official Saudi Press Agency".
  21. ^ "Bahrain deplores US recognition of Syrian Golan as Israeli territory The official Saudi Press Agency".
  22. ^ "Gulf Arabs, Iran reject U.S. recognition of Golan Heights as Israeli". March 26, 2019 – via www.reuters.com.
  23. ^ "US recognition of Israeli' sovereignty on Syrian Golan fuels tension". Kuwait News Agency. March 25, 2019. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
  24. ^ "Jordan News Agency (Petra)". petra.gov.jo.
  25. ^ "Iraq considers Golan Heights an "occupied Syrian territory," says foreign minister".
  26. ^ Reuters; Press, The Associated (March 26, 2019). "Iranian President Slams Trump for 'Unimaginable' Golan Recognition" – via Haaretz.
  27. ^ https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/arabs-decry-illegal-us-decision-on-golan-heights/1430150
  28. ^ https://www.plenglish.com/index.php?o=rn&id=40353&SEO=jordan-and-morocco-ratify-golan-as-syrian-territory
  29. ^ http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2019-03/28/c_137928589.htm
  30. ^ https://www.garoweonline.com/en/news/somalia/somalia-reject-us-decision-on-golan-heights
  31. ^ "Lebanese officials condemn US Golan decision - News , Lebanon News - THE DAILY STAR". www.dailystar.com.lb.
  32. ^ "Japan does not recognize Israeli annexation of Syrian Golan The official Saudi Press Agency".
  33. ^ "Cuba Slams Trump's Recognition of Israeli Sovereignty over the Golan". prensa-latina.cu.
  34. ^ "Venezuela rejects U.S. intent to recognize Israel's sovereignty over Golan Heights • Ministerio del Poder Popular para Relaciones Exteriores".
  35. ^ "Indonesia rejects Trump's recognition of Golan Heights as part of Israel". The Straits Times. March 26, 2019.
  36. ^ https://www.canada.ca/en/global-affairs/news/2019/03/statement-on-the-golan-heights.html
  37. ^ https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2019/03/27/pakistan-condemns-decision-to-recognise-israels-control-over-golan-heights/
  38. ^ http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2019-03/27/c_137925508.htm
  39. ^ https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/469865
  40. ^ https://e.vnexpress.net/news/news/vietnam-criticizes-us-recognition-of-israel-s-sovereignty-over-syria-s-golan-heights-3901640.html
  41. ^ "China Rejects U.S. Decision on Syrian Golan". prensa-latina.cu.
  42. ^ ruaa-jazaeri (March 26, 2019). "Protests held across Syrian provinces against Trump's decision on occupied Golan".
  43. ^ "Syrians protest as Hezbollah urges resistance over US Golan move". Al Jazeera. March 26, 2019. Retrieved March 17, 2019.
  44. ^ "Trump signs declaration recognising Israeli sovereignty over Golan Heights". The Independent. March 25, 2019. Retrieved March 27, 2019.
  45. ^ Cortellessa, Eric. "At AIPAC, Gantz vows to rid Israel's leadership of racism, corruption". www.timesofisrael.com. Retrieved March 27, 2019.
  46. ^ "Israeli politicians praise Trump's Golan Heights recognition". www.timesofisrael.com. Retrieved March 27, 2019.
  47. ^ Morris, Loveday (April 23, 2019). "Trump Town: Netanyahu wants to repay Trump's Golan move with a community named in his honor". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 17, 2019.
  48. ^ "Israel unveils 'Trump Heights' in Golan". June 16, 2019. Retrieved June 17, 2019 – via www.bbc.com.

External links