President Trump just sent shockwaves through the international community, and raised the ire of Israel’s enemies, by upending longstanding US policy when he tweeted that it “is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel's Sovereignty" over the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights region.
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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 21, 2019
The Golan Heights is a plateau located in northeast Israel that provides prime observation points into Syria and provides a measure of previously unknown strategic depth for Israel along the Syrian border. Israel captured the strategically significant Golan region in 1967 in response to the coordinated attack on Israel by Egypt, Syria, and Jordan. During the period 1948-1967, Syria had militarized the Golan Heights and had used it as a platform to harass and attack Israel. In 1973, Egypt and Syria once again attacked Israel and were once again defeated. Yet, the 1973 Yom Kippur War made clear that the Golan Heights were critical to Israel’s national survival. As a result, Israel officially annexed the Golan Heights in 1981 under former Prime Minister Menachem Begin, citing continuing threats from Syria, including missile attacks.
Immediately following Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights in 1981, the United Nations condemned Israel’s action, and the UN Security Council adopted UNSC Resolution 497 which declared: “[T]he Israeli decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights is null and void and without international legal effect.”
Given ongoing events in the Middle East and especially in neighboring Syria, the time was right to recognize that the Golan Heights are absolutely essential to Israel’s national defense. President Trump once again has acted with boldness where others cower in the realm of the politically correct.
Following President Trump’s statement, the European Union (EU), as expected, released its own statement that its position “has not changed. The European Union, in line with international law, does not recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the territories occupied by Israel since June 1967, including the Golan Heights, and does not consider them to be part of Israel’s territory.”
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has accused Iran of launching attacks on the Golan Heights to retake the area. Were the Iranians and their Hezbollah allies to succeed, the Syrians—or worse—would once again hold the strategic high ground overlooking Israel’s Hula Valley as well as the Sea of Galilee.
During a press conference with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his gratitude to President Trump for continually standing with the Israeli people, stating:
“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 re-imposed 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.”
We told you that ACLJ Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow was on the ground in Jerusalem to witness that momentous occasion when the U.S. embassy opened in the holy city, over two decades after the Jerusalem Embassy Act was passed, ordering the relocation of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. No other American President was actually willing to fulfill that promise, instead citing numerous excuses and invoking waivers.
Within his first year in office, President Trump officially acknowledged Jerusalem as Israel’s one true capital. The President then announced that the U.S. Embassy in Israel would reopen in Jerusalem on May 14, 2018, coinciding with the 70th anniversary of Israel’s independence.
In a recent interview with CBN, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was asked if he believes President Trump was elected to save the Jewish people from attacks by Iran.
Secretary Pompeo responded:
As a Christian, I certainly believe that’s possible. It was remarkable – so we were down in the tunnel where we could see 3,000 years ago, and 2,000 years ago – to see the remarkable history of the faith in this place and the work that our administration’s done to make sure that this democracy in the Middle East, that this Jewish state remains. I am confident that the Lord is at work here.”
It’s encouraging to hear such bold words of faith from our Secretary of State.
As our President continues to solidify our relationship with our great ally Israel and keep decades-old promises, many key Democrats, including presidential hopefuls such as Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders have announced that they won’t be attending the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference in Washington, D.C. next week. It is indeed sad to see Democratic presidential hopefuls fearing to attend AIPAC because their base has become so radicalized against Israel. Further, each of them had expressed support for Rep. Ilhan Omar after she made anti-Semitic, anti-Israel statements, including attacking AIPAC directly.
Interestingly, Sen. Harris did speak at AIPAC in 2017, calling it “an honor.”
President Trump offered hard criticism for those Dems opting to skip AIPAC:
“I don’t know what’s happened to them but they are totally anti-Israel,” Trump told reporters on the South Lawn of the White House. “Frankly, I think they’re anti-Jewish.”
Anti-Semitism has no place in the world – and especially not in our own government. Candidateswho will not defend our ally Israel or the Jewish people do not belong in Congress or the White House.
At the ACLJ, we’re fully engaged to defend Israel’s interests and shield the Jewish people from hateful attacks.
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