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Trump signs proclamation recognising Golan Heights as Israeli territory

Trump signs proclamation recognising Golan Heights as Israeli territory”

That is why U.S. President Donald Trump's tweet last week endorsing Israel's claim to sovereignty over the Golan Heights, territory seized from Syria 52 years ago, was so shocking.

Miller recalled three circumstances in recent history when US presidents have sought to influence the outcome of an Israeli election, including one other occasion when President Bill Clinton invited then-Prime Minister Shimon Peres to the White House a month before an election that he ultimately lost to Netanyahu.

Returning to the images of the Holocaust, he said: "In Bergen-Belsen no one asked: Who is reform and who is conservative; who is orthodox and who is secular; before going into battle I never checked to see who had a kippa under their helmet", said Gantz, adding that "the divisive dialogue tearing our strong nation apart may serve political purposes but is shredding the fabric that holds us together".

Israel seized the strategic plateau from Syria in the Six-Day War in 1967, subsequently annexing it in 1981 in a move never recognized by the global community.

More than 35 years ago the Likud took control of the United States lobby which is influential with right-wing members of the Jewish community and, more importantly, with pro-Israeli Evangelical Christians who belong to Trump's "base" of support.

The European Union, European countries such as Germany and France, and the United Kingdom, among others, have recently reiterated they consider the Golan Heights occupied territory. Under global law, territories are considered Israeli-occupied territory of Syria.

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Most have ticked the wish-list of Israel's right-wing government and met longstanding demands of its USA supporters, including US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital.

Mr. Trump's decision might be more defensible if it were part of a new and innovative US policy in the region.

Just last week, new details regarding the relationship between Netanyahu and Thyssenkrupp "magically" surfaced just in time for the election.

Trump's stance breaks with long-standing USA policy and the worldwide community, which considers the Golan Heights as Israeli-occupied, not a sovereign holding.

He also told an election rally in Turkey's central province of Konya on the same day, "Under UN resolutions, Israel can not lay claim on even a small bit of the Golan Heights".

Netanyahu welcomed Trump's move and said Israel has never had a better friend. Israel passed legislation annexing the territory, but the rest of the world has not recognized the law. Israel has not annexed the West Bank or the Gaza Strip, but some Israeli politicians, including the current Knesset speaker, have described the Golan annexation as a first step towards annexing some or all of the West Bank.

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Lebanon said the decision violates global law and undermines the prospects for peace.

In addition to signalling USA support for Israel's security, the decision appeared to show Trump's support for Netanyahu, the political candidate in April 9 elections.

Senior White House Adviser Ivanka Trump and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin stand next to the dedication plaque at the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, during the dedication ceremony of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, May 14, 2018.

Trump's Middle East envoy, Jason Greenblatt, said it was inconceivable Israel "would allow the Golan to be controlled by the state of Syria or by any of the rogue actors operating in the areas, including Iran".

Among the Israelis attending are former Israeli army chief Benny Gantz, head of the "centrist" Blue and White party challenging Netanyahu's Likud in the coming election.

Worldwide condemnation has been swift after Trump's announcement. However, that move was never formally recognized by the US or other nations, who said its permanent status should be decided in peace negotiations. According to Israeli public opinion polls, he is the leading challenger to the incumbent Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the April 9 Knesset election.

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