Yesterday, President Trump said the US will recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
The Golan Heights. Can you jog my memory? It’s early.
Israel captured the territory from Syria during the Six-Day War of 1967, and formally annexed it in 1981. But that hasn’t been recognized by the international community.
Why is that?
The UN has declared that Israeli forces need to leave the territory that’s been acquired by war. And countries around the world consider the Golan Heights an occupied territory and apparently consider Israeli settlements there illegal under international law. Previous US administrations have sided with the UN on the issue. Yesterday, Trump abruptly went another way.
Trump? Abrupt? I’m shocked.
He said it’s time for the US to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the territory because it’s “of critical strategic and security importance” for Israel and the region’s stability. The US will apparently be the first country to take this stance.
Well, it follows a number of other moves Trump’s made to show the US’s commitment to Israel. That includes: recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving the US Embassy there. Withdrawing the US from the Iran nuclear deal. And downgrading the status of the US’s diplomatic mission to the Palestinians.
Does this affect the Israeli–Palestinian conflict?
Unclear. But Israel has occupied the West Bank since the Arab-Israeli war of 1967. And this latest move could set a precedent moving forward on whether the admin recognizes other territories in the area as Israel’s – which could cause major issues there.
What’s the reaction been?
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is pumped. He’s been dealing with corruption allegations that could put his presidency at risk. And this gives him a major boost before the country’s election in a few weeks. Syria reportedly calls the move “irresponsible,” and says it’s more determined to liberate the territory in any way possible. Palestinian officials warned that this would bring “certain destabilisation and bloodshed” in the region. Netanyahu told Trump “you made history.” And he’s right.
American policy has been to stay with the norm and not recognize the annexation of territory acquired by war. Early in his presidency, Trump said the US and Israel are great allies and Netanyahu said the two countries can work together to stop Iran from going nuclear. Since then, Trump has taken step after step to deepen ties with Israel. And now, this major shift could have repercussions for other occupied areas around the world, including the West Bank and Crimea.
REPEAT AFTER ME...
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