How Trump's Golan Heights move may benefit Netanyahu

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During Pompeo's Jerusalem trip, there was also speculation that his Western Wall visit with Netanyahu could be interpreted as tacit approval of Israel's claim to sovereignty over the site.

This is the second recent diplomatic bombshell dropped by Washington, which is Israel's main backer, in seeking to redraw the fraught Middle East map.

Thank you, President Trump, for having the courage to say so - loud and clear.

'The message to people out there.

Trump's announcement could complicate his administration's plans to roll out its long-delayed Middle East peace plan after Israel's election.

Indeed, the USA president has recently called on Jewish-Americans to abandon the Democratic Party, pointing to his own staunchly pro-Israel policies, including moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal.

The announcement hands Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a significant foreign policy victory, less than three weeks before Israelis head to the polls to decide whether he should remain in power. When asked about Trump's tweet, Pompeo declined to comment.

Netanyahu has for weeks been stepping up longstanding Israeli requests for the USA and others to recognize Israel's sovereignty over the Golan.

"The territorial integrity of countries is protected under int'l law", Kalın said in a tweet. Critics have condemned the legislation as racist, saying it enshrines discrimination against Israel's Palestinian minority into law. However, the secretary of state expressed optimism that the Trump administration could broker a lasting peace agreement.

The White House is mulling several ways to formalize the policy decision, including a potential executive order signing ceremony on Monday with Netanyahu present.

Not only Russian Federation and the European Union are likely to oppose America's decision, but Syrian opposition groups as well, including the Kurds, "might - under pressure from Assad or to prove their Syrian patriotic credentials in post-war negotiations - join calls to protest Israeli sovereign claims", Shapiro argued.

A change in the USA view of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which it captured from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War, along with the West Bank from Jordan and the Gaza Strip from Egypt, was also hinted at last week when the State Department changed its usual description of the plateau from "Israeli-occupied" to "Israeli-controlled" in an annual global human rights report.

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Khalil said the vessel sank because of a technical problem, and there were few boats in the area to rescue people. Mobile phone footage showed the ferry sinking into the muddy water and people shouting for help.

There are now about 30 Israeli settlements on the land, which are home to 20,000 citizens.

Ariel Gold, co-director of feminist anti-war group CODEPINK, said Trump is solidifying his alliance with right-wing leaders around the world, including Netanyahu and Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro.

Many of the Golan Druze continue to swear loyalty to Syria, partly out of fear that if the Golan were ever returned to Damascus they could face reprisals from the Assad regime if they were seen to have collaborated with Israel. A formal USA recognition would likely force them to recommit to this policy, driving an unnecessary wedge between them and Israel.

'I think, for this reason, and many more, it is time that the global community recognises Israel's stay on the Golan, and the fact that the Golan will always remain part of the State of Israel'.

Israel's prime minister has praised President Donald Trump's recognition of its control over the Golan Heights as a holiday "miracle".

"We are deeply grateful for the United States support".

The Trump decision to recognize the Golan now gives Netanyahu a significant boost before the election, but will also also trigger criticism that the United States president is blatantly meddling in the Israeli elections.

Without directly addressing the Golan issue, Pompeo affirmed USA support of Israel: "With the threats of annihilation that Iran is making against Israel, we are committed to Israel's security and its right to self-defense".

The Golan Heights is a key territory near Israel's border with Syria.

Issues on the agenda included energy security and regional developments.

No formal US process or executive committees were initiated to review the policy before Trump's decision, and the diplomats responsible for implementing the policy were left in the dark.