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Work begins on Golan settlement 'in honour of Trump': Netanyahu

Netanyahu wants to name a settlement after Trump [Getty]

Date of publication: 12 May, 2019

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Netanyahu has announced that a location has been pinpointed to build an illegal settlement on the occupied Golan Heights.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Sunday a location has been found for a new illegal settlement in the Golan Heights to be named after US President Donald Trump.

The honour is to be bestowed on the US President out of gratitude for the White House's recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the territory, Netanyahu said at his weekly cabinet meeting.

In March, Trump officially recognised Israeli sovereignty over the territory it captured from Syria in the 1967 Mideast War.

Israel annexed the mountain plateau in 1981, a move unrecognised by most of the international community.

An estimated 20,000 Israelis live in Golan Heights settlements, which most of the international community considers illegal.

Israel captured a large swathe of the Syrian Golan Heights in the 1967 war and later officially - but illegally - annexed the area in 1981.

The annexation of the Golan means the territory is not occupied in the same way as Israel occupies the West Bank and Gaza - its residents are able to claim Israeli citizenship and are subject to Israeli civil law.

While successive Israeli governments have encouraged the building of settlements in the occupied Golan Heights, many Syrians who remain, most of whom are Druze, have rejected Israeli citizenship.

Trump's move to recognise Israeli control over the occupied Golan Heights followed a 2017 decision to recognise Jerusalem - both east and west - as the capital of Israel, and move the US embassy to the city.

Netanyahu has also vowed to expand Israeli sovereignty over the West Bank.

In the run up to this month's national elections in which the prime minister was re-elected, he told voters he intended to annex illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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