Trump signs US recognition of Israeli sovereignty over Golan Heights

US President Donald Trump signs a Proclamation on the Golan Heights alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Diplomatic Reception Room at the White House in Washington, DC, March 25, 2019. (AFP photo)

Washington. Breaking with decades of international consensus, US President Donald Trump has formally recognized Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights, a border area the Tel Aviv regime seized from Syria in 1967.

Trump signed a proclamation recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Syrian territory on Monday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Trump’s Jewish son-in-law Jared Kushner standing at his side in the White House in Washington, DC.

“This was a long time in the making,” Trump said.

Netanyahu has been pressing for Washington to recognize Israel’s claim to the occupied Golan Heights.

Some analysts see Trump’s Golan Heights announcement as a campaign gift to Netanyahu ahead of Israel’s legislative elections on April 9.

Netanyahu faces an increasingly tough time ahead as his biggest political opponent overtakes him in popularity and as calls mount for him to resign over looming corruption charges that could effectively end his political career.

Trump on Thursday declared his bid to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Syrian territory, marking a dramatic shift in US policy.

Earlier this month, the US State Department changed its usual description of the Golan Heights from “Israeli-occupied” to “Israeli-controlled” in an annual global human rights report.

Washington’s recognition of the Israeli-occupied area marks a major shift in US policy. The United Nations emphasizes Syria’s sovereignty over the territory.

“Today for the first time in 52 years, with Prime Minister Netanyahu at his side, the president of the US will formally recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights,” US Vice President Mike Pence announced earlier on Monday as he addressed the pro-Israel lobby American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in Washington, DC.

Earlier on Monday, Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani denounced Trump’s his decision to recognize Israel’s illegal occupation and annexation of the Golan Heights.

Larijani said that the US president’s announcement about the Israeli-occupied territory is a violation of humanitarian principles and international law.