Secretary of State Pompeo Visits Western Wall in Israel


U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri at the governmental palace in Beirut, Lebanon March 22, 2019.

President Trump on Thursday called for the USA to recognize Israel's sovereignty of the Golan Heights, the 700-square-mile northern plateau that Israel captured from Syria in the Six-Day War in 1967.

"We applaud the president for formally recognizing Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights, an acknowledgment that enhances the national security of both Israel and the United States", Sens.

Lasensky said Trump's move seemed to be "totally devoid of strategic imperative" and possibly aimed at helping Netanyahu win the vote.

The reason for the move was not given, but it could give Israel's damaged prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu a boost a month before elections.

In 2017, Trump controversially recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital and announced the move of the United States embassy there, breaking with decades of global consensus.

But now, it seems that the USA government is preparing to go further and formally and fully recognize Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

President Trump has supported Israel since the beginning of his campaign for the presidency. We need to help them figure out how to do that, " Pompeo said. It's unclear whether Trump's policy shift went through official US government channels, or was simply a one-off move from the unpredictable president.

"President Trump has just made history".

The move comes as Israel has been pushing the Trump administration for recognition and some members of the Republican Party are backing the idea.

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Palestinian peace negotiator Saeb Erekat panned the Golan announcement and said USA policy would bring "bloodshed in our region".

U.S. President Donald Trump's "unfortunate remarks" recognizing Israel's sovereignty over Golan Heights has brought the region to the brink of a new crisis, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Friday.

"I think it's important".

However, Leon Panetta a veteran Democrat who served as Central Intelligence Agency director and defense secretary, among other roles, blasted Trump for "tweeting out another policy that obviously has not been worked out with our global partners". Pompeo also visited the embassy on Thursday.

The Old City is home to Jerusalem's most sensitive holy sites, including the Western Wall and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, where tradition says Jesus was entombed and resurrected. We want a better path where the Israelis and Palestinians aren't in conflict.

In 2017, Trump also went against decades of practice in recognising the disputed city of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, rather than the previously accepted Tel Aviv.

Last week, in its annual human rights report, the State Department dropped the phrase "Israeli-occupied" from the Golan Heights section, instead calling it "Israeli-controlled".

"This decision is intensely political", said Robert Malley, president of the Crisis Group consultancy, and "in disregard of global law".

"If Democrats are committed to bipartisan support for Israel, as they claim, they will get behind this effort", he said.