Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu departed this morning for Lithuania, where the Israeli leader was invited to attend an annual summit of Baltic countries. Netanyahu stressed upon departure that he also seeks to change the attitude of the European Union toward Israel through the bolstering of relations with different blocs within the Union. “I have been invited to the Baltic states summit. This is the first time that a Prime Minister of Israel will be visiting Lithuania and has been invited to this summit. This reflects Israel’s growing stature around the world. Of course, we are interested in tightening economic and diplomatic links with these countries just as they are interested in doing the same with us. I am also interested in balancing the not always friendly EU approach toward the State of Israel, in order to achieve an approach that is more fair and genuine to the State of Israel. I do this through contacts with blocs of countries within the EU, the countries of Eastern Europe, [and] now with the Baltic states and, of course, with other states,” Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu said.
When asked about remarks made by U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton vis a vis Washington’s recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, and whether Israel has given up on its expectation for an American recognition – Netanyahu emphasized that he could not give up on such a thing.
Reporter: ‘Has Israel given up on its expectation that the US will recognize the Golan Heights in light of [US National Security Adviser John] Bolton’s remarks?’
Netanyahu: “I should give up on such on such a thing? That cannot be.”
The question surrounding Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights came after a senior Israeli official claimed that Washington’s recognition could be forthcoming within months. Nevertheless, when asked in a press conference in Jerusalem about Washington’s intensions, U.S. National Security adviser John Bolton stressed that the Trump Administration is not discussing possible recognition of Israel’s claim of sovereignty over the disputed territory. Ambassador Bolton underscored that while the United States “understands the Israeli claim that it has annexed the Golan Heights,” for the time being “there is no change in the U.S. position.” It is important to note that while Israel recognizes the Golan Heights as a part of the Jewish state, that after it asserted its sovereignty in 1981, the international community continues to view the mountainous region as Syrian lands that were occupied by Israel as part of the 1967 Six-Day war.