While Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to cut his U.S. trip short, his one-day visit produced significant fruit. In a historic act of staunch support, President Donald Trump signed a Presidential proclamation formally recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
The American leader further stressed that the dramatic shift in Washington’s policy will help Jerusalem defend itself against regional threats, such as Iran and its Lebanese proxy Hezbollah – including under any possible future peace agreement. According to the U.S. President: “In a moment I will sign a presidential proclamation recognizing Israel’s sovereign right over the Golan Heights. The state of Israel took control of the Golan Heights in 1967, to safeguard its security from external threats. Today, aggressive action by Iran and terrorist groups in southern Syria, including Hezbollah, continue to make the Golan Heights a potential launching ground for attacks against Israel, very violent attacks. Any possible future peace agreement must account for Israel’s need to defend itself from Syria, Iran and other regional threats.”
With regard to the growing threat from the Islamic republic of Iran, President Trump underscored that the United States would not let the Ayatollah regime even consider acting on its aspiration to annihilate the Jewish state and its people. “As I said during my state of the union address, we will not avert our eyes from the dictatorship that chants ‘death to America’ and ‘death to Israel’ and calls for genocide against the Jewish people. We won’t let them even consider that,” Trump said.
Prime Minister Netanyahu, on his part, opened his remarks by thanking President Trump for his consistent support of Israel’s right to self-defense. In his words: “You’ve shown consistently incredible support for Israel, for our right to self-defense. When we exercise that self-defense, you have never flinched. You have always been there, including today, and I thank you.” / “I have a simple message to Israel’s enemies: We will do whatever we must do to defend our people and defend our state.”
Netanyahu also hailed Trump’s decision to officially recognize Israel’s claim to sovereignty over the Golan Heights, a territory invaluable to Israel’s security. According to the Israeli Prime Minister: “Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen, this is truly a historic day. For two decades, from 1948 to 1967, Syria rained deadly fire from the Golan Heights on Israel’s citizens below. A generation of Israeli children lived in constant danger. And then, in two glorious days in June 1967, the brave soldiers of Israel scaled those daunting heights and liberated the Golan.” / “In 1967, Israel seized the high ground, which has since proven invaluable to our defense. Because in 1973, Syria launched a surprise attack against Israel, and those same Golan Heights proved to be, to enable us to absorb the initial, horrific, attack and successfully counterattack the invading Syrian forces. Within three weeks, we were at the gates of Damascus. Outmanned, outgunned, our brave soldiers triumphed after one of the hardest-fought tank battles in our history. While Israel won those two wars, we would have to wait nearly half a century, until this moment here in this room, to translate our military victory into a diplomatic victory.”
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Al-Moualem condemned the U.S. recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, claiming that the American declaration does not change the fact that the territory is occupied by the Jewish state. “This decision will have no effect at all. Its only impact will be on America’s isolation.” / “He (Trump) will not be able to do anything in Golan. No matter how many years have passed, this will not change the fact that the Golan is an occupied Syrian territory. No one can change this fact,” the Syrian Foreign Minister said.
Despite the reality, in which Israel has controlled the Golan Heights for over five decades, the Damascus regime stresses that it remains Syrian territory and that it maintains the right to use all means necessary to re-claim its lost territory.