On Thursday, President Donald Trump called on the United States to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, a disputed area that the Jewish State has controlled since the Six-Day War in 1967. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Christian leaders rushed to praise Trump for the declaration.
“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 tweeted.
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 21, 2019
Israel took the western two-thirds of the Golan Heights in 1967, but the eastern third has remained under Syrian control. The region has been a hotbed for battles in the Syrian Civil War. Israelis built settlements on the Golan Heights, which the U.N. condemned in 1981. The Golan Heights is indeed critical for Israel and the stability of the region.
“At a time when Iran seeks to use Syria as a platform to destroy Israel, President Trump boldly recognizes Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Thank you President Trump!” Netanyahu tweeted.
At a time when Iran seeks to use Syria as a platform to destroy Israel, President Trump boldly recognizes Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Thank you President Trump! @realDonaldTrump
— Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) March 21, 2019
Danny Danon, Israel’s ambassador to the U.N., also praised Trump’s declaration.
We are at the beginning of a historic moment for the State of #Israel!@realDonaldTrump once again proves the strength of the #US-Israel relationship, & that the Golan Heights is an inseparable part of Israel.
Thank you, America! Thank you, President Trump! 🇮🇱🇺🇸 https://t.co/I4IhykfF8W
— Ambassador Danny Danon | דני דנון (@dannydanon) March 21, 2019
It is past time that we recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Israel faces constant threats from Iran-funded terror groups throughout the Middle East. We will always stand by Israel’s right to exist, defend itself, and ensure stability in this important region. https://t.co/Mga4dYeD65
— Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) March 21, 2019
John Hagee, founder and chairman of the nationwide group Christians United for Israel (CUFI), also praised the move.
“In our meetings with Administration and Capitol Hill officials there’s been a clear understanding of the Golan Heights’ importance to Israel’s security. We are very grateful to the President for having the courage to express that position and look forward to the US formally recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights,” Hagee said in a statement.
“I am pleased with President Trump’s recognition of Israel’s valid, legitimate and necessary claim over the Golan Heights,” Mat Staver, founder and chairman of the Christian law firm Liberty Counsel and president of Christians in Defense of Israel, said in a statement. “The Golan Heights have been part of Israel since biblical times and was part of the land allotted to the twelve tribes of Israel some 3,500 years ago. This recognition is long overdue, and President Trump is the first president to finally take action.”
Some have criticized the president’s tweet as pandering for Netanyahu however, since it came shortly before Israel’s elections.
The people in the Golan Heights avoided Assad's genocidal campaign b/c Israel controlled the territory. No one serious should want Israel to give it back to Syria. But announcing that right before Israeli elections is obvious pro-Netanyahu electioneering, and that's the problem. https://t.co/lIybFkZwI0
— (((Yair Rosenberg))) (@Yair_Rosenberg) March 21, 2019
Trump’s defense of Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights is welcome and historic. The region is indeed critical, as the Syrian Civil War makes abundantly clear. Israel’s presence has made part of this critical region safe despite the current troubles.
Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.