Trump recognises Israel’s annexation of Golan Heights

Sovereign over the Golan Heights has been a contentious issue in the Middle East since Israel captured two thirds of the area from Syria in the Six Day War in 1967, and effectively annexed in 1981.

Donald Trump has earned praise from the embattled President Netanyahu by recognising Israeli sovereignty, the only country to do so, but could stir up tensions again in the Middle East.

Since the 1967 Six-Day War, the western two-thirds of the Golan Heights has been occupied and administered by Israel.

From 2012 to 2018, the eastern Golan Heights became a scene of repeated battles between the Syrian Arab Army, rebel factions of the Syrian opposition including the moderate Southern Front, jihadist al-Nusra Front, and ISIL-affiliated factions. In July 2018, the Syrian government regained control of the eastern Golan Heights.

Construction of Israeli settlements began in the remainder of the territory held by Israel, which was under military administration until Israel passed the Golan Heights Law extending Israeli law and administration throughout the territory in 1981.

his move was condemned by the United Nations Security Council in Resolution 497, which stated that “the Israeli decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction, and administration in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights is null and void and without international legal effect”, and Resolution 242, which emphasises “inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war”. Israel maintains it has a right to retain the Golan, also citing the text of UN Resolution 242, which calls for “safe and recognised boundaries free from threats or acts of force”.

Washington Examiner – Trump: Time for US to recognize Israeli sovereignty over Golan Heights

The announcement comes just weeks before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is facingpotential criminal corruption charges, is up for re-election. Netanyahu, who has leaned heavily on Trump’s support, praised the announcement Thursday.

Speaking beside Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Israel on Thursday, Netanyahu thanked Trump for recognizing the region.

“President Trump has just made history. He did it again. First, he recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moved the U.S. embassy here, then he pulled out of the disastrous Iran treaty and re-imposed sanctions, but now he did something of equal historic importance.”

Haaretz: Trump Signs Order Recognizing Golan Heights as Israeli Territory

In a joint press conference, Trump said: “We do not want to see another attack like the one suffered this morning north of Tel Aviv,” adding: “Our relationship is powerful.” Trump then said: “We will confront the poison of anti-Semitism.”

Netanyahu said he brought Trump a “box of the finest wine from the Golan Heights.”

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin welcomed the proclamation, calling Trump “a true friends of the State of Israel.” Opposition head Shelly Yacimovich, as well as Labor chairman Avi Gabbay, also commended the move.

Syria’s foreign ministry called the decision a “blatant attack on the sovereignty and territorial integrity” of Syria on Monday, in a statement carried by state news agency SANA.

In a joint press conference with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Netanyahu said, “We feel that it’s a Purim miracle, President Trump made history today.” According to Netanyahu, “Trump recognized Israel’s sovereignty in the Golan Heights at a time when Iran is trying to use it as a platform to destroy Israel.”

The move by Trump caused an instant international uproar of protests: under international law, the Golan Heights are considered to be Syrian territory occupied by Israel, like East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Israel captured the Golan Heights, which is populated by around 25.000 Druze, in 1967 and de facto annexed the territory in a 1981 law.

After the Trump tweet, a European Union spokesperson in Israel told Haaretz the EU will not change its position regarding the Golan Heights in the wake of U.S. President Donald Trump’s declaration. Representatives of Russia, Turkey, multiple actors in the Arab world including Palestinians and Syrians also condemned the move.

Washington Examiner – Netanyahu to Trump: ‘Israel has never had a better friend than you’

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told President Trump on Monday that “Israel has never had a better friend than you”.

“Mr. President, over the years Israel has been blessed to have many friends who have sat in the Oval Office. But Israel has never had a better friend than you. You have showed this time and again,” Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu, thanking Trump, said of the formerly Syrian Golan Heights: “We hold the high ground and we shall never give it up.”

Al Jazeera: Why Trump recognised Israel’s claim on the Golan Heights

While the US decision to recognise Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights is primarily being explained away with geopolitics, it, in fact, has much more to do with US domestic politics. With this move, President Donald Trump aims to cement the gradual shift in partisan support of Israel from the Democrats to the Republicans and rally evangelical Christians around his presidency.

He chose to sign the Golan Heights sovereignty decree on March 25 as American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the main Israel lobby group in the United States, was holding its annual conference in Washington. This year, the event took place against the backdrop of Democratic House Representative Ilhan Omar’s comments criticising the lobby and the decision of a number of Democratic presidential candidates to boycott it.

Trump and members of his administration took the opportunity to attack the Democratic Party, with Vice President Mike Pence rebuking the Democratic party for being “afraid to stand with the strongest supporters of Israel in America”.

A few days earlier, Trump was even more explicit: “I don’t know what happened to them, but they are totally anti-Israel. Frankly, I think they are anti-Jewish.”

The White House is purposefully feeding a narrative that the Democrats’ commitment to Israel is wavering and that there are growing signs of what one former Trump campaign aide has called “Jexodus” – the supposed exodus of American Jews from the Democratic camp, which they have traditionally supported, to the Republican one.

There has always been a complex political symmetry between Israeli and US politics. Right-wing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu never got along with two liberal US presidents; Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. However, Trump is the gift that keeps on giving.

The current collusion between right-wing leaders in both the US and Israel is unprecedented and is marginalising the left in both countries and pushing back against what they perceive as liberal institutions, most notably the media and the judiciary branch. Trump hopes to use this alliance to engineer a sway to the right in US politics, similar to the one in Israel.

While political decisions favouring Israel are certainly boosting Trump’s and Netanyahu’s chances of re-election, they are conflicting with other US objectives in the Middle East. Pompeo’s March 22 visit to Beirut, for example, was eclipsed by Trump’s decision on the Golan Heights, which undermined his call on local political forces to deter Hezbollah.

The Trump-Netanyahu alliance is putting Arab allies of Washington in a difficult position, as unconditional US “gifts” to Israel are increasingly antagonising the Arab public. These policy distractions undertaken by the Trump administration are undermining the US’s attempt to deter Iran and are in many ways helping Tehran’s anti-US narrative.

The growing alliance between the US evangelicals and the Israeli right is polarising US and Middle East politics and, while it may secure short-term electoral gains for Trump and Netanyahu, in the long term, it may prove disastrous.

Dina Badie (Channel NewsAsia):  Why Trump’s recognition of the Golan Heights as Israeli territory matters

Trump is popular in Israel, particularly after recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and relocating the American embassy there from Tel Aviv. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is currently using the American president’s photos in his re-election campaign posters to take advantage of this.

In fact, some analysts and reporters have suggested that the timing of this announcement was politically calculated to bolster Netanyahu’s campaign in the upcoming Israeli elections on Apr 9.

So claims that both Trump and Netanyahu see election advantages foe themselves over the move by Trump.

I expect that the decision to recognise Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights will run into the same difficulties that afflicted the Trump administration’s change in policy with regards to Jerusalem for two reasons.

First, it reverses decades of consistent US policy that demanded any territorial recognition come as a result of direct negotiations, rather than unilateral declarations.

Second, it runs counter to international law, which does not recognise Israeli sovereignty over territories occupied during the 1967 War.

To be sure, Trump’s move is a symbolic, rather than legal, gesture. But given the dimensions of America’s global influence, US recognition could lend some legitimacy to Israel’s controversial annexation policy.

And I believe Trump’s approach to contentious issues in the Arab-Israeli conflict will further undermine the US government’s claim to be an honest broker. In my view, it makes peace in the Middle East less likely.

And claims that there could be flow on effects of this move by Trump.

Heather Timmons (Quartz): Why Trump’s Golan Heights move should worry India and Taiwan

By ignoring the United Nations charter pledge to refrain from “the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state,” Trump is putting the future of other long-disputed territory in jeopardy, foreign policy experts say.

“It sets a terrible precedent,” said Edward Goldberg, a professor with New York University’s Center for Global Affairs. “If the US doesn’t recognize international law as the ‘cop,’ then who does?,” he said.

“What if China goes into Taiwan tomorrow, isn’t that the same thing?,” Goldberg said, “or Pakistan into Kashmir?”

Russia’s neighbors may also be affected. Russia has already called outUS “hypocrisy” over sanctions related to the Russian annexation of Crimea, notes Stacie Goddard, a professor of political science at Wellesley College.

“In the short run, this is most likely to bolster Russia’s confidence in South Ossetia and Abkhazia,” the breakaway territories that were once part of Georgia, but now supported by Russian military.

Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, and the United Nations immediately condemned Trump’s proclamation, and the UN declared Israel’s annexation of the area “null and void.”

Stephen Blank (The Hill): Trump’s Golan Heights announcement will backfire for Netanyahu — and US

While the military situation in the Golan has not changed, Trump’s decision fundamentally alters the political context there. Rather than enhancing Israeli security this decision actually diminishes it. Trump’s statements have made it impossible for any future Syrian government, not only Bashear Assad’s regime, to make peace with Israel. No Syrian regime of any stripe will accept Israeli occupation of the Golan Heights leading to Damascus.

Moreover, Israeli annexation of the Golan furnishes an ideal and enduring pretext for Iran, and its client forces like Hezbollah, to stay in Syria to defend against the “Israeli threat.”

Thus, Iranian forces and terrorists associated with them will not only stay in Syria and threaten Israeli forces and civilians in the Golan and Israel proper, their belief in their cause and their recruitment will grow, causing major new security challenges and costs to Israel.

Likewise, it also furnishes an outstanding pretext for Moscow to strengthen its military bases in Syria. That also challenges U.S. and NATO forces in the Mediterranean. This will make Moscow even more resolute about trying to undermine U.S. policy across the entire Middle East and Africa as it is now doing with visible success.

Clearly, the U.S. has no viable strategy for building peace in the Middle East or for confronting the Palestinian or Iranian challengers to peace.

Nothing is simple in the Middle East. I think it’s difficult to predict what effect Trump’s recognition of the annexation of the Golan Heights will have, but it is unlikely to improve peace prospects.

Blatantly intervening in Israel’s politics ahead of an election, we have undercut our argument to everyone else that Russia (and implicitly China) must be countered because they interfere in our and our allies’ domestic politics. Here again, we have sacrificed principle for expediency and given our opponents the means to stigmatize our policy as being hypocritical.

Like Russia, the US is guilty of trying to influence and interfere in elections around the world for a long time.

Cynical politics rules.


  1. Duker

     /  27th March 2019

    Crimea – annexation bad, Golan Hieghts annexation Good.
    I wonder where that leaves Turkey which invaded Cyprus and carved out a so called republic enforced by Turkish troops. As Turkey belongs to Nato, it must be a special case which doesnt incur sanctions from Europe.

  2. Corky

     /  27th March 2019

    Another great decision from ”do something” President Trumpy. I doubt Israel as a state would exist if it hadn’t initiated the preemptive strike called the 6 day war.

    The facts are simple. The nations surrounding Israel wouldn’t blink an eye if Israel was wiped off the map. Therefore the defence and support of Israel should be simple too.

    “What if China goes into Taiwan tomorrow, isn’t that the same thing?,” Goldberg said, “or Pakistan into Kashmir?”

    No, it’s not the same thing in Taiwan’s case. Taiwan, I doubt, has plans to annihilate China.

    ”Clearly, the U.S. has no viable strategy for building peace in the Middle East or for confronting the Palestinian or Iranian challengers to peace.”

    True..and I wonder why? The time for talking has past.

    Stephen Blank obviously doesn’t know the mindset of Israel’s enemies. If the Golan Heights was returned tomorrow, what would happen? Rocket attacks and terrorism. Simple.
    Blank is talking politics. In the Middle East war rules.

    Trump has made the right call. Of course, Israel will have to live with the results of that proclamation. But they were stuffed either way. So why not choose the stuffing the favours you, and not your enemies?

    • Dukeofurl

       /  27th March 2019

      “The nations surrounding Israel wouldn’t blink an eye if Israel was wiped off the map. ‘

      Israel wouldnt blink an eye if Palestine was wiped off the map, in fact they are almost there-
      fixed that for you.

      Israel was created by the UN- it was a rigged vote- out of the British mandate of Palestine, which itself was a re- creation after WW1 of the 12th century Crusader states . The movement to establish Israel preceded the Holocaust and even the First world war- where the central European jews were seen as ‘not on the allied side’ ( they were largely in German and Austrian empires and they hated the Czarist Russian empire)

      • Corky

         /  27th March 2019

        ‘Israel wouldn’t blink an eye if Palestine was wiped off the map, in fact they are almost there-
        fixed that for you.”

        Yeah, no. As a country that works along some lines of democracy, and given the makeup of its population, that hasn’t happened. I think the Israelhas been far too lenient. No prizes for guessing what would happen if Palestinians were in Israels place. If Palestinians can hide their military posts in schools..well….?

        So you have fixed nothing.

        Arabs never originally owned that land. Here is a link you will love.

        • Duker

           /  27th March 2019

          never owned the land ?.
          racists think that in south Africa too . Doesnt make it true. the Ottoman government would have expropriated the land and onsold to turkish landlords.
          Happened in NZ too , didnt mean the Maoris werent the original settlers

          During the late Ottoman period there were more Jews in each of the great ottoman cities, Constantinople, Smyrna Cairo, Baghdad, Damascus ( and been there for centuries) than in all Palestine.

          • Corky

             /  27th March 2019

            You should have read the link. I said you would love it.

            • Duker

               /  27th March 2019

              I was commenting on your claim – Palestinians never owned the land.
              Which is a racist claim without foundation.

            • Corky

               /  27th March 2019

              ‘Which is a racist claim without foundation.”

              Please keep that emotive rubbish for people who live in fantasy land. It’s not a racist comment. You could have used words like:

              1- Ignorant.
              2-ILL informed.
              3- Wrong.
              4- Biased.

            • Duker

               /  27th March 2019

              Fits your comments to a tee

     but plenty of others same the same thing
              the ideology that humans may be divided into separate and exclusive biological entities called “races”; that there is a causal link between inherited physical traits and traits of personality, intellect, morality, and other cultural and behavioral features; and that some races are innately superior to others.
              Palestinians ( ‘a separate entity’) never owned the land ( ‘were inferior and were only peasant farmers’). Thats the heart of your racist ideology. Israel itself is inherently racist as it has separate classifications for people based on language and religion.

            • Conspiratoor

               /  27th March 2019

              Corky i think your come backs are improving in inverse proportion to your popularity

            • Corky

               /  27th March 2019

              I don’t do popularity. l’m not a ‘hiver.’ Although I must admit I would sometimes like to get in on the action when you lot are blowing smoke up each others rear ends. That’s when I switch channels..after a little chuckle. I do think you should worry more about Parti. Give him a little extra love. I think he’s still in shock.

              As for come backs. I try to limit those, good or bad, otherwise I will end up like Kitty.

          • harryk

             /  27th March 2019

            ‘the ideology that humans may be divided into separate and exclusive biological entities called “races” ‘

            Race is a discredited 19th century construct. Humans are diverse. If race doesn’t exist, nor can racism, we should be replacing the old discredited terminology with the far more accurate ‘Othering’, which encompasses discrimination based on skin colour and ethnicity. Othering is recognized as one of the prerequisite steps to genocide and is a far more devastating criticism than racism. However both the left and right have invested emotionally and ideologically in keeping a 19th century fraud alive, when new terminology for an old discourse is badly needed. ‘You’re a racist’ is a lazy but easier way to politically stigmatise an opponent than ‘You’re an Otherer.’ A shift of terminology from Race to ‘Othering’ is making progress, very slowly, in academia but not in the mainstream media.


            Re the Golan. I’m surprised nobody has mentioned a UN supervised referendum for the people who were born there/live there now. Prior to the annexation Druze were the majority. Let them decide whether they prefer to be part of Syria or Israel.

            • Duker

               /  27th March 2019

              You mean the territory shouldn’t be handed back to whoever occupied it 2000 yrsago?
              Maybe the people who lived in Palestine in 1948 should have been asked in a referendum about dividing the country in two as the UN decided to do over ‘it’s mandate’.
              “In 1914 Palestine had a population of 657,000 Muslim Arabs, 81,000 Christian Arabs, and 59,000 Jews.”

            • harryk

               /  28th March 2019

              The Golan is not a Palestinian issue. It’s a three-way issue between Syria, Israel and the Druze, who were the majority prior to annexation and still account for half of Golan’s population. Druze should be given a say whether they want to be part of Syria or Israel, should be given some real bargaining power to determine the terms and conditions under which they’re prepared to join either country. How on earth this thread can completely ignore Druze while turning it into an Israel v Palestinian issue is astounding.

    • Kimbo

       /  27th March 2019

      The time for talking is past

      Which was a position Israel adopted after the Six Day War, including rebuffing feelers to begin negotiations from Anwar Sadat…who then launched the Yom Kippur War with the ultimate intent of driving Israel to the bargaining table…which bore fruit at Camp David five years later.

      Richard Nixon always thought the Israelis were arrogant, intransigent and over-confident after their win in 1967, yet despite that mistake came to their aid when they desperately needed it in 1973. In early 1974 Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir came to the White House to pass on her, and her nation’s gratitude. At that meeting Nixon, who had some experience of the difficulties in extracting oneself out of messy and morale-sapping wars advised Meir that apparent strength over a weaker enemy is sometimes a weakness because, if like the North Vietnamese…or the Syrians, Iranians and Palestinians they will not surrender, then the stronger power has no exit strategy. Instead, the weaker power has every incentive to carry on fighting forever.

      Now it would appear Netanyahu and Trump are throwing away the consensus that has applied since the end of World War II that the age of annexation by conquest is over. Doubtless the undeclared-Likud policy to do the same with West Bank will proceed at full steam, and maybe become an official policy. So millions of Palestinians will effectively be segregated off in bantustans, with increased militancy following. Sure, Israel cannot force a peace where goodwill does not exist yet to a sufficient degree on the part of others. But the road that Israel is now taking boxes them into a corner where she is condemned to endless hostility until she is maybe one day destroyed. Hence Nixon’s advice to Meir… “when you are strong you can actually be weak”. Time will tell if Netanyahu and Trump have taken another step condemning Israel to endless war.

      • Duker

         /  27th March 2019

        yes . Luxembourg has no defensible borders either a large part of Israels people seemingly want all Arabs expelled from ‘Greater israel’ or even the current state – and that will make them safe’.

        • Kimbo

           /  27th March 2019

          Almost like the American Christian Dispensationalist argument, “there is lots of land in the Middle East for a Jewish homeland so why don’t the Arabs just accept giving up a small piece”. On wonders if they would be so quick to give that advice if it was, say, Arkansas or Idaho?

          Either way, all the historical settlement arguments by both sides are stupid and pointless, as the Zionist state is now a fact and has been for over 70 years. Best to try and assist both sides to move towards what peace can be found.

          • Duker

             /  28th March 2019

            tell that to the Crusader states that were once in the region ‘as a fact’.
            Byzantium was once a fact as well.
            Israel is doing everything it can to prevent a new fact of a Palestinian state- that is the current problem.
            Golan wasnt even part of the mandate yet that is now a fact too, but can easily be reversed

            • Sheeneez

               /  28th March 2019

              Yes, when I said “peace”, that was predicated on the formation of a viable Palestinian state.

  3. Finbaar Rustle

     /  27th March 2019

    After WW2 they should have established a new Israel state in Southern California.

    • Zedd

       /  27th March 2019

      I thought much of the USA is already ‘under Jewish control’ ? :/

  4. duperez

     /  27th March 2019

    “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!” ?

    “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 importance to my re-election hopes.”

    There you go, edited.

  5. Zedd

     /  27th March 2019

    What is next of Israeli/USA annexation list ? All of the West Bank & re-seizure of Gaza ??
    The ‘state of Israel’ is a UK/USA creation in the land of Palestine; Balfour Declaration

    Q)How is it that the ‘Jews’ went into exile ‘dark skinned’ but came back ‘light-skinned’ ?
    A) I read that the ‘modern Jews’ in Israel are actually ‘Khazars’ NOT from the ’12 tribes’ that came out of the Babylonian exile.

    The modern ‘Jews’ are reportedly controlling the world’s banks & many major industries (inc. Hollywood).. is this the real reason why MrT & his cronies/USA power-brokers, are bowing to Netanyahu & Co. every wish ?? Follow the MONEY !

    • Zedd

       /  27th March 2019

      btw: I apparently have ‘Jewish Blood’ too (great Grandfather ?), but when my Mum(RIP) told us this (1960s).. it was not something to ‘make a big deal’ about/often frowned upon.. :/

    • Duker

       /  27th March 2019

      Britain had a period of norse control of some of the saxon small kingdoms, doesnt mean that 1200 years later the Norse have a right of return to York and East Anglia
      Much the same in eastern side of Ireland, Dublin was founded as a norse town. No right of return there. The Normans who invaded England also founded a kingdom in Sicily , no right of return there.

      • High Flying Duck

         /  27th March 2019

        So you have drawn a line that says the Palestinians, a huge portion of whom are not even from the Israeli land have that right, but Jews do not?

        • Duker

           /  27th March 2019

          jews are not native to Palestine in the normal sense of the word , genetics wont go back further than say 1500.
          Europe would be untenable if distant in time ‘homelands’ were reclaimed . That was one of Hitlers grand dreams, Charlemagne and the Holy Roman empire and all that were historically German, Mussolini wanted a new Roman empire in the Med and North Africa.- he got Albania, Libya Rhodes and wanted the Coast of Turkey after WW1. Greeks had 2000 or more years habitation on the Mediterranean and Black sea Coasts of Turkey, but were expelled from 1922 onwards.

    • Pink David

       /  27th March 2019

      Are you posting all these antisemitic tropes out of irony, or belief?

      • Blazer

         /  27th March 2019

        where has anything anti-Semitic been posted.We know Israel was a ‘creation’ promised to Rothschild for U.S involvement in War.

        • Pink David

           /  27th March 2019

          “where has anything anti-Semitic been posted”

          Read what I wrote please. Not what you think I wrote.

  6. unitedtribes2

     /  27th March 2019

    I think Teresa is going to Annex Ireland soon. Before 12th April I heard.

    • Duker

       /  27th March 2019

      No The EU wants to move the Irish border to include the North, a de facto annexation.

      Back in 1921 for the UK – Irish agreement, the border was initially to be based on ‘counties ‘ but excluded some historically Ulster Counties to end up with the 6 that made Northern Ireland. The excluded ones were Cavan, Donegal and Monaghan .
      A border commission was supposed to further adjust those 6 counties border so that Roman Catholic majority areas were excluded. Britain did a deal with Eire government not to reduce the NI area from the boundary commission findings in return Britain would not apportion part of its public debt for the new Irish Government.

  7. The Consultant

     /  27th March 2019

    China’s long-term strategy is to take Taiwan anyway, that’s what all the talk about a reunified China by 2049 is all about. That’s the 100th anniversary of Mao’s Communist takeover of China.

    In the face of that, UN and International law will be damned. All this talk of “precedents” would amount to nothing more than gum flapping in the event of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan, just as it was gum-flapping to Putin over Crimea.

    No Western nation is willing to go to war for either one. Sure, they’ll be sanctions, but the Chinese, just like the Russians, would wear it. China learned a lot from the reaction to Tianamen Square: in 1989 and for years afterward, condemnations and sanctions. By 2008 numerous world leaders sat in the stands watcing the opening of the Beijing Olympics.

    Trump understands this realpolitik also. After all the screaming at previous Presidents about not moving the US Embassy to Jeruselem, and at him, he did it.


    Nothing in practice. Just more grizzling about how it has increased tensions in the ME. To which the only intelligent reply is actually, “Yeah, yeah”!

    • Duker

       /  27th March 2019

      So Trump has backed Israel on the Golan and yet you ‘flap your gums’ about something that most likely would never happen about China.

  1. Trump recognises Israel’s annexation of Golan Heights — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition