Hours after US President Donald Trump announced the recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, controversial Israeli Knesset Member (MK) Bezalel Smotrich has called for Trump to take a similar step regarding the occupied West Bank.
On Twitter, Smotrich wrote: “President Trump, thank you. For 52 years, we have succeeded in the West Bank. It is also of a strategic, historical and security importance for Israel,” Safa news agency reported yesterday.
He added: “It is the time to recognise our sovereignty over the West Bank. God willing, we will work to achieve this soon. We hope to see your support, too.”
President Trump justified his recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights by claiming “it is of strategic, historical and security importance for Israel”.
Many of Israel’s right-wing parties – among which is Smotrich’s National Union party – are calling for annexing “Area C” of the occupied West Bank to Israel, which constitutes 60 per cent of the whole territory. Buoyed by President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2017, these parties have become more fervent in their demands, particularly ahead of Israel’s upcoming election on 9 April.
The US State Department did not use the word “occupied” in reference to the Golan Heights, West Bank and Gaza Strip in its report about human rights issued earlier this month.
Israel occupied the West Bank, East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula in the Six Day War of 1967. Despite returning the Sinai to Egypt under the Camp David Accords of 1979, Israel has maintained its occupation of the other territories.