AMY GOODMAN: Just weeks before major elections in Israel that could determine the future of the embattled Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Trump has bowed to his pressure by declaring the U.S. will recognize Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights, in defiance of international law and decades of U.S. policy. Trump announced the move via Twitter Thursday, writing, “After 52 years it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel’s Sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which is of critical strategic and security importance to the State of Israel and Regional Stability!” exclamation point.
Netanyahu responded to the news during a joint news conference with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: President Trump has just made history. I called him. I thanked him on behalf of the people of Israel. He did it again. First he recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moved the U.S. Embassy here. Then he pulled out of the disastrous Iran treaty and reimposed sanctions. But now he did something of equal historic importance: He recognized Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights. And he did so at a time when Iran is trying to use Syria as a platform to attack and destroy Israel. And the message that President Trump has given the world is that America stands by Israel.
AMY GOODMAN: The Golan Heights area covers less than 500 square miles along Israel’s northeastern border with Syria. Israel annexed the Golan Heights in 1981 after capturing the territory from Syria during the 1967 war, but the international community does not recognize its sovereignty. In November, the U.S. said it planned to vote against a U.N. resolution calling for Israel to end its occupation of the Golan Heights.
The Syrian state news agency responded to Trump’s vow to overturn decades of U.S. policy by saying it showed the,…