U.S. Recognizes Israeli Occupation of Golan Heights

Trump issued a proclamation recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights border region.


Wikimedia Commons

An Israeli tank in the Golan Heights border region.

Sean Moriarty, Special Coverage Writer

In a controversial move, President Donald Trump issued a proclamation on Monday recognizing Israel’s jurisdiction over the disputed Golan Heights border territory that separates the nation from Syria, its longtime enemy.

The Golan Heights are a strategically vital border area between Israel and Syria which have been contested several times in Israel’s history. After the Syrian Army nearly broke through Israeli defenses during the Six-Day War in 1967, and again during the Yom Kippur War in 1973, Israel de facto annexed the region to create a defensive buffer area in the event of another Syrian attack.

Occupation of the Golan Heights is a necessary part of Israel’s national defense.”

— John Patterson

After announcing the policy via tweet the prior week, Trump officially declared the move following Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to the White House. This makes the U.S. the first nation to recognize Israeli jurisdiction of the border area, which other states regard as an illegal occupation of Syrian territory.

“Occupation of the Golan Heights is a necessary part of Israel’s national defense,” asserted local resident John Patterson, a retired U.S. Army officer who served in the First Gulf War. “The Heights are rough terrain, while the rest of Israel is pretty flat. Syrian tanks could possibly break through Israeli defenses on flat terrainbut the hills and mountains of the Heights are not so easy to pass through.”

President Trump, for his part, expressed similar hopes that this action would increase the Jewish nation’s ability to defend itself in future conflicts.

In response, the Syrian government claimed that the decision was “a blatant attack on its sovereignty” and asserted that it would reclaim the Heights “through all available means,” military or otherwise.