WASHINGTON (JTA) — President Donald Trump said it was time to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
“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!” Trump said Thursday on Twitter.
The government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pressed for the recognition of the strategic plateau, which Israel captured from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War. Republicans in Congress, led by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, have advanced legislation to recognize the Golan as belonging to Israel. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., earlier this month toured the Golan and said he would push for recognition.
Israel sees holding onto the Golan now as especially critical because of continued instability in Syria.
It’s not clear what action Trump would take, if any. In a tweet immediately following, Trump’s top Middle East negotiator called Trump’s statement a “decision.”
“Another bold, courageous, and historic decision by @POTUS who understands Israel and its security needs,” Greenblatt said. Trump in 2017 recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and last year moved the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.
Trump’s tweet comes on the eve of Netanyahu’s visit to Washington and just over two weeks before Israel’s election. Trump has taken a number of steps to bolster Netanyahu ahead of the election.
Netanyahu and Trump spoke on the phone on Thursday.
“You made history,” Netanyahu said, according to the Israeli Government Press Office.