US President Donald Trump has signed a proclamation recognising Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights and told the visiting Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, that Israel has an absolute right to self-defence.
Speaking at a White House signing ceremony in Washington, Mr Trump said that the United States recognises Israel’s absolute right to defend itself. He said, the despicable rocket attack yesterday demonstrates significant security challenges that Israel faces every single day. He was referring to the rocket attack by Hamas, the Islamist movement that runs the Gaza Strip, on Tel Aviv in which seven Israelis, including two children, were injured.
Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 war, but its sovereignty over the territory is not recognised by the international community. Mr Trump’s move reversed more than a half-century of the US policy over the issue.
He said that aggressive action by Iran, and terrorist groups in southern Syria, including Hezbollah, continued to make the Golan Heights a potential launching ground for attacks against Israel. Mr Netanyahu called the recognition historic and said the Golan Heights would remain permanently under Israeli control.
Meanwhile, Russia said, it feared a new wave of tensions in the West Asia following the decision by Washington to recognise Israeli sovereignty over the disputed Golan Heights, which are claimed by Syria.
Russia’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that the move ignores all international procedures and would only aggravate the situation. The Syrian government has criticised the move calling it a blatant attack on its sovereignty.