US President Donald Trump formally recognises Israeli control of Golan Heights

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26 March, 2019

Flanked by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at a joint press conference inside the White House Monday, President Trump signed an official proclamation recognizing the Golan Heights as sovereign Israeli territory.

Netanyahu has pressed USA presidents to recognize the land grab and Trump's readiness to acquiesce is proof of Netanyahu's influence in Washington.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had earlier promised a strong response to the rocket attack earlier in the day which injured seven Israelis, saying: "Israel will not tolerate this".

Israel captured the Golan in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed it in 1981 in a move not recognized internationally.

Mr Trump, who in 2017 took the step of recognizing disputed Jerusalem as Israel's capital, called the Golan declaration "a long time in the making".

The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela categorically rejects Trump's government intention to recognise the sovereignty of Israel over the Syrian territory of the Golan Heights, in violation of Security Council resolutions and the UN Charter.

Syria and other states in the region condemned Trump's pledge, saying it violates worldwide law. In 2017, Ankara repeatedly criticized the United States president over his recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Still, the Golan Heights is home to some 27,000 Syrians, who are unlikely to be happy with the Trump administration's decision.

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Israeli soldiers fire a 175mm self-propelled field gun against Syrian forces from the Golan Heights, Oct. 11, 1973. Netanyahu says he brought Trump a case "of the finest wine from the Golan".

In a speech at a meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Friday, Erdogan said the legitimization of the occupation of the Golan Heights can not be allowed. Israel-US ties are closer than ever.

In a speech at a meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation on Friday, Erdogan said the legitimisation of the occupation of the Golan Heights can not be allowed. "Today, a rocket was sacked from Gaza deep into Israel injuring seven people including two children".

Netanyahu is on a total of four days in the United States. President Trump told Netanyahu: "Welcome to the White House, you are a special person doing excellent work". "Today, aggressive action by Iran and terrorist groups in southern Syria, including Hezbollah, continued to make the Golan Heights a potential launching ground for attacks against Israel".

Among the Israelis attending are former Israeli army chief Benny Gantz, head of the "centrist" Blue and White party challenging Netanyahu's Likud in the coming election. She also has accused Americans who support Israel of being bought off by campaign donations.

Opinion polls gauging whether Trump's move is having an effect are expected later in the week.

Trump's announcement, like the decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, strips away what remained of the veneer of neutrality that the USA enjoyed as a moderator in peace talks.

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