Netanyahu asks Trump to recognize Israeli sovereignty over Golan Heights
Luke Baker, Reuters, Feb 14 2017
FASCHINGSTEIN – Netanyahu asked Trump on Wednesday to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which Israel seized from Syria in the 1967 war and annexed in 1981 in a move not recognized internationally. At a presser after meeting Trump at the White House, Netanyahu was asked whether he had raised the Golan issue, and how Trump had responded. He said:
Yes, and I wouldn’t say that he was surprised by my request.
Netanyahu did not elaborate. Israel made a similar request to the Obama administration in 2015, but it was rejected, diplomats said at the time. It is unclear whether the White House would take such a step now, given that it could further complicate the Syrian conflict. The Trump administration has talked about working more closely with Russia to end the Syrian conflict. Recognizing Israel’s sovereignty in the Golan could undermine those efforts. It could spur Hezbollah to target IDF forces stationed across the Golan Heights. Israel has carried out occasional airstrikes in the Syrian portion of the Golan, to target Hezbollah supposedly ‘smuggling arms.’ But it is possible that Trump could decide to recognize Israel’s sovereignty.