"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. "
The announcement happens to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a significant foreign policy victory, less than three weeks before the Israelis lead the polls to decide if he should remain in power. The move comes just days before Netanyahu will join Trump at Vita house and follow weeks during which Netanyahu has renewed his pressure for the United States to recognize Golan Heights as part of Israel.
Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria during the 1967 day war and the formally attached territory in 1981. But that anniversary has not been recognized by the international community which has regarded the Golan Heights as occupied territory and Israeli settlements there as illegal under international law.
Trump have high degrees of approval in Israel and his omta Just by Netanyahu so close to the election, along with delivering a sought-after recognition, can affect the outcome of the Israeli election.
Netanyahu quickly went to Twitter to thank Trump, tweeting: "At a time when Iran is trying to use Syria as a platform to destroy Israel, President Trump acknowledges boldly Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Thank you President Trump! @RealDonaldTrump." 19659002] It was not clear whether the White House would release additional information or details about the move to recognize the Golan Heights as part of Israel outside of Trump's tweet.
Former US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, who served under President Barack Obama said the flight "raises great concern," said it is difficult not to see this as an attempt to fight Netanyahu's chances of continuing Prime Minister.
"It's hard not to put two and two together" Panetta said on CNN. "The president has clarified his support for Netanyahu."