For the biggest news of the week, President Donald Trump came out to urge the United States to recognize Israel’s ownership of the Golan Heights.
Israel captured control of the Heights on its northern border, a territory that was originally controlled by Syria but annexed by Israel during wartime.
Israel has controlled the Heights since the Six-Day War in 1967 but the international community has always refused to recognize Israel’s ownership of the region.
In fact, no former U.S. President has ever allowed that the Golan Heights should belong to Israel, either. So, that is why this is such a big deal.
And it is loooong overdue.
According to the Washington Free Beacon, Trump’s proclamation about recognition came as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was visiting Israel.
With Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Israel for high-level meetings with his Israeli counterparts, Trump took to Twitter to call for the United States to recognize Israel’s complete control over the territory, which would provide the Jewish state with greater leverage as it conducts counter-terrorism operations aimed at thwarting Iranian-backed militants such as Hezbollah, which operates in the contested territory with war-torn Syria.
“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 on Thursday.
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 21, 2019
Still, Pompeo would not comment on the issue.
The idea apparently didn’t just come out of the blue. Senators Tom Cotton (R., AR) and Ted Cruz (R., TX) reported that they have been working on the idea for some time.
“We applaud the president for formally recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, an acknowledgement that enhances the national security of both Israel and the United States,” Cotton said. “At a time when Israel’s northern border is threatened by Iranian forces and their proxies in Lebanon and Syria, including by Hezbollah’s rockets, armed drones, and newly discovered terror tunnels, this recognition will be great news for our ally and its right to self-defense.”
“More work remains to be done to align American policy with today’s recognition,” Cotton said. “We look forward to advancing our bicameral legislation on the Golan Heights which acknowledges Israel’s sovereignty over its territory, streamlines congressional language, and expands the basis for joint projects on the issue.”
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.