Trump says time for USA to recognise Israeli sovereignty over Golan

Trump says time for USA to recognise Israeli sovereignty over Golan

Trump says time for USA to recognise Israeli sovereignty over Golan

The president's tweet represents a departure from USA policy, which has for years referred to the territory seized by Israel from Syria over 50 years ago as the "Israeli-occupied Golan Heights".

Syrian President Bashar Assad as members of the Druze community attend a rally in the Druze village of Majdal Shams in the Golan Heights commemorating the 45th anniversary of the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, on October 6, 2018.

In a tweet, Mr Trump declared that the plateau was of "critical strategic and security importance to the State of Israel and regional stability".

Netanyahu, the Israeli PM, quickly tweeted his gratitude.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faces an election on April 9 and has been pressing for the United States to recognize Israel's claim to sovereignty over the Golan Heights. But Netanyahu, facing a tough challenge from a popular former military chief and reeling from a series of corruption allegations, has repeatedly sought to focus attention on his foreign policy record and strong ties with President Donald Trump.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is now in Israel meeting with Netanyahu just weeks before a heated Israeli election and the two men were about to hold a news conference.

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Panetta, who was speaking on CNN, said the Golan recognition "gives up one of the chips that everyone thought would be part of a Middle East peace agreement deal". Pompeo, whose head was covered with a kippah, talked to rabbis, put a note between the wall's stones that remained from the Jewish temples destroyed in ancient times, and stood in silence, keeping his hand on the wall.

WATCH: Netanyahu discusses Israeli sovereignty in Golan Heights with U.S.

It was captured by Israel during the Middle East war of 1967 and subsequently annexed in a move never recognised by the worldwide community.

Netanyahu suggested Thursday in Jerusalem that he's eager to see Trump make a unilateral move akin to his decision in December 2017 to recognize Jerusalem as israel's undivided capital, and his later move of America's embassy there from Tel Aviv.

Pompeo and Netanyahu prayed at the wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray, before depositing written prayers in its crevices and then touring nearby tunnels and synagogue. UN Resolution 242 calls for Israel to withdraw from Golan and other territories it occupied in 1967, including Gaza and the West Bank.

This was echoed by the far-right Union of Right-Wing Parties, which thanked Trump, but warned the Israeli public not to let the move blind them to the dangers of Trump's expected peace plan.

"If the Palestinian Authority will collapse, we will have to take care about what is going on", he said. Netanyahu raised the possibility of U.S. recognition in his first White House meeting with Trump in February 2017.

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