Trump tweet does little for Golan, but much for Netanyahu, critics charge

US President Donald Trump shakes hands with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as they meet in the Oval Office of the White House

Trump: Time for US to recognize Israeli sovereignty over Golan Heights

"At a time when Iran seeks to use Syria as a platform to destroy Israel, President Trump boldly recognizes Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights", the Israeli prime minister wrote.

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday it was time to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights that Israel seized from Syria in 1967, marking a dramatic shift in U.S. policy and giving a boost to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the middle of his re-election campaign.

The announcement signals a shift in USA policy and comes ahead of the Israeli Prime Minister's planned visit next week to the White House.

Netanyahu had previously urged top United States officials to make the declaration and he is expected to meet with Trump at the White House in the coming days.

Seventeen faculty members at the University of California, Berkeley, warned on Tuesday against the threat posed by the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment, .

Many of the Golan Druze continue to swear loyalty to Syria, partly out of fear that if the Golan were ever returned to Damascus they could face reprisals from the Assad regime if they were seen to have collaborated with Israel.

The Trump administration has backed Israel's claim to sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

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The comprehensive report , still confidential, marks the end of Mueller's probe but sets the stage for big public fights to come. Longtime Trump confidant Roger Stone was charged in January with obstruction, false statements and witness tampering.

Few doubt Trump, who will host Netanyahu at the White House next week, prefers the Israeli premier over Blue and White's Benny Gantz, with whom he has no known relationship and who was not invited to meet the president.

Without directly addressing the Golan issue, Pompeo affirmed U.S. support of Israel: "With the threats of annihilation that Iran is making against Israel, we are committed to Israel's security and its right to self-defense".

Netanyahu, a conservative leader who is now facing the threat of indictment for bribery and three counts of breach of trust, has a tough election coming up in early April.

Plans for the trip were announced during Netanyahu's meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday in Jerusalem. "We are very grateful to the President for having the courage to express that position and look forward to the U.S. formally recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights", Hagee said in a statement. Last week, the State Department dropped a reference to the Golan being under Israeli occupation. Reporters asked Pompeo about the issue, but he declined to answer. A United Nations observer force has been in place on the ceasefire line since that year.

Despite suffering heavy losses, Israeli thwarted the surprise assault and both countries signed an armistice in 1974.

About 20,000 Israeli settlers live in the Golan, which overlooks Syrian territory. Israel is now in the middle of a precarious situation with its neighbors: It has been striking Iranian targets in Syria and this latest development, created by the Trump, could provoke Syria, Russia and Iran to further isolate and perhaps attack Israel, complicating matters immensely.

When Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital, he said it did not determine the city's final borders. "You would have Iran on the shores of the Sea of Galilee". Peace talks between Syria and Israel have continued on and off since Israel unilaterally annexed the area in 1981, a move which was not recognized internationally.

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