Senior Israeli officials have reported that the United States may be preparing to recognise Israel’s sovereignty over the Syrian Golan Heights, and suggested that the announcement could occur as early as next week.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the senior Israeli officials stated that they believe that the Trump administration is planning to formally recognise Israel’s authority over the occupied Golan Heights after decades of non-recognition by the US and others, according to a report released by Israel’s Channel 3 this morning.
The Golan Heights were captured by Israel during the Six Day War in 1967 from the Syrian army, which used the strategic high ground overlooking Galilee to launch attacks and retaliations on Israeli territory. Since then, the area has been recognised as highly strategic in maintaining Israel’s dominance over the Syrian border.
Israel administered the Heights through military law until 1981, in the same way in which it administered the West Bank and Gaza Strip, before the Menachem Begin government directly applied Israeli law and effectively annexed the territory to the Israeli state.
The United Nations and various world powers such as the US, Russia and the European Union have until now refused to recognise Israel’s annexation and sovereignty over the Golan Heights, citing that it is exclusively Syrian territory. That status quo now looks set to change, however, as the US Trump administration’s strongly pro-Israel policies are predicted to culminate in the acceptance of Israel’s occupation of its neighbour’s territory.
At a meeting between US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Netanyahu in Jerusalem yesterday, the Israeli premier accused Iran of aiming to set up a Hezbollah cell to target Israel from the Golan Heights, claiming Israel’s sovereignty of the territory is for its security.
If the US does officially recognise Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, it will coincide with President Donald Trump’s meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in Washington.