US President Donald Trump on Monday signed a proclamation recognising Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights and told the visiting Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, that his country has “absolute right” to self-defence.
Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Mideast war but its sovereignty over the territory is not recognized by the international community. Trump’s move reversed more than a half-century of the US policy over the issue.
“The United States recognizes Israel’s absolute right to defend itself. The despicable attack this morning demonstrates significant security challenges that Israel faces every single day. And today I am taking historic action to promote Israel’s ability to defend itself and really to have a very powerful, very strong national security which they’re entitled to add,” Trump said at a White House signing ceremony.
Trump was referring to the rocket attack by Hamas, the Islamist movement that runs the Gaza Strip, on Tel Aviv in which seven Israelis, including two children, were injured.
In the presence of Netanyahu, Trump signed the presidential proclamation recognising Israel’s sovereign right over the Golan Heights.
“Today, aggressive action by Iran, and terrorist groups in southern Syria, including Hezbollah, continued to make the Golan Heights a potential launching ground for attacks against Israel. Any possible future peace agreement must be accounted for Israel’s need to defend itself from Syria, Iran and other regional threats. We do not want to see another attack like the one suffered this morning, North of Tel Aviv, Trump said.
In view of the attack, Netanyahu cut short his visit to the US.
Terming the Golan declaration “a long time in the making”, Trump said, “It should have taken place many decades ago.”
Meanwhile, Netanyahu praised Trump saying he has shown consistently incredible support for Israel’s right to self-defence. “When we exercise that self defense, you never flinched. You have always been there, including today” he said.
“Your decision to recognize Israel’s sovereignty on the Golan Heights is so historic,” Netanyahu told Trump.
“Your recognition is a twofold act of historic justice. Israel won the Golan Heights in a just war of self-defense, and the Jewish people’s roots in the Golan go back thousands of years,” he added.