US President Donald Trump on Monday formally recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Israel-occupied Golan Heights, reversing decades of US policy.
The announcement came as Benjamin Netanyahu visited the White House in a trip the Israeli prime minister said he was cutting short after an early morning rocket, allegedly fired from the besieged Gaza Strip, struck a home in central Israel, wounding seven people.
Israel began striking Hamas targets in Gaza later on Monday, the Israeli military said. Hamas had earlier denied its movement was behind the overnight rocket.
As the US recognizes the illegal annexation of the Golan Heights, Israel bombs two million Palestinians trapped in an open air prison
— Remi Kanazi (@Remroum) March 25, 2019
Monday’s decree formalized Trump’s statement last week, saying it was time for the United States “to fully recognize” Israeli sovereignty over the Golan. The move appeared to give Netanyahu a boost ahead of the closely contested April 9 Israeli elections.
Trump said alongside Netanyahu in the White House:
“This was a long time in the making.”
Israel seized much of the Golan Heights from Syria during the 1967 Six-Day War and then effectively annexed it in 1981, a move that was never recognized by the international community.
BREAKING: UN head says Trump decree is meaningless – Golan Heights still "occupied"https://t.co/i67Ivhfz1G
— Haaretz.com (@haaretzcom) March 25, 2019
Syria’s foreign ministry called the US decision to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan a “blatant attack on the sovereignty and territorial integrity” of Syria, according to a statement carried by state news agency SANA.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said it is impossible for Turkey to accept the US decision on the Golan Heights.
He added that action will be taken against the United States over the move, including at the United Nations.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is “clear that the status of Golan has not changed,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Monday.
No unilateral "proclamations"—whether about Jerusalem, the Golan Heights, or Palestinian refugees—can erase the Palestinian and Syrian identities of those places or the ongoing resistance of the Palestinian and Syrian peoples against oppression. pic.twitter.com/SHrj1P5NEO
— US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (@USCPR_) March 25, 2019
A UN Security Council resolution adopted unanimously by the 15-member body in 1981 declared that Israel’s “decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights is null and void and without international legal effect”. It also demanded Israel rescind its decision.
Earlier this month, a senior US administration official told reporters in Washington that there was “no change in [US] outlook or our policy vis-a-vis these territories and the need for a negotiated settlement there”.
Trump signs declaration recognizing Israel's sovereignty over disputed #GolanHeights
— RT (@RT_com) March 25, 2019
The official was responding to questions about why the US changed its description of the Golan Heights in its latest annual human rights report in which the area was referred to as “Israeli-controlled”, not “Israeli-occupied” as it was previously stated.
Trump, who has shown robust support for his country’s close ally Israel, recognized Jerusalem as the country’s capital in 2017, defying international consensus and angering Palestinian leaders, who view Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.
(AJE, PC, Social Media)