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Trump to recognise Golan as Israeli territory on Monday

The Golan Heights are occupied by Israel [Getty]

Date of publication: 24 March, 2019

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Trump will apparently sign an order recognising the Syrian Golan Heights as Israeli territory on Monday, Israel said.
US President Donald Trump will sign an order recognising Israel's sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights when he meets Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Washington on Monday, Israel's foreign minister said.

"President Trump will sign tomorrow in the presence of PM Netanyahu an order recognising Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights," Foreign Minister Israel Katz wrote on Twitter on Sunday.

The lands were illegally seized from Syria by Israel following a war in 1967, which the country effectively annexed in 1981 - an act not recognised by the international community, who still consider the land as Syrian.

Israeli media reported on Thursday that officials had told them the US will announce it grant Israel recognition of sovereignty over the Golan Heights during Netanyahu's visit to Washington next week.

Netanyahu welcomed Trump's vow to recognise Israel sovereignty over Golan soon after at the time.

"At a time when Iran seeks to use Syria as a platform to destroy Israel, President Trump boldly recognises Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Thank you President Trump!" he tweeted in response.

The foreign ministry in Damascus said Trump's comments confirm "the blind bias of the United States to the Zionist entity", referring to Israel. It added that Trump's statement won't change "the fact that the Golan was and will remain Arab and Syrian".

The ministry also said Damascus is now more intent on liberating the Golan, "using every possible means". 

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Arab League chief Ahmed Aboul Gheit criticised the American stance, saying it "comes outside the international legitimacy and no country, no matter how important it is, can make such a decision".

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Trump's "unfortunate" declaration has brought the region "to the brink of a new crisis and new tensions".

"We will never allow the legitimisation of the occupation of the Golan Heights," Erdogan added.

Russia's foreign ministry said on Friday that a change in the status of the Golan Heights would be a direct violation of UN decisions, RIA news agency said in a report citing ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.

Iran, an ally of the Syrian regime along with Russia, called the sudden change in US policy "illegal and unacceptable".

The US will be the first country to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan, which the rest of the international community regards as territory occupied by Israel whose status should be determined by negotiations between Israel and Syria. Attempts to bring Israel and Syria to the table have failed.

Jordan has previously rejected the Israeli presence in the Golan Heights, describing the area as "occupied Syrian territory", and demanded Israel withdraw its forces. 

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