Trump tweets abrupt shift on Golan Heights

An Israeli soldier spoke on a phone in Golan Heights in 2015

An Israeli soldier spoke on a phone in Golan Heights in 2015

Pompeo's events with Netanyahu included a visit to the Western Wall that made him the highest-ranking US official to visit the Jewish holy site with any Israeli leader and appeared to further signal the Trump administration's support for Israel's control of the contested city.

Netanyahu has privately pressed for recognition of Israel's control over the Golan Heights with administration officials and members of Congress, and will raise the issue in his meetings with Trump as a top priority, according to Israeli sources.

Israel later effectively annexed the Golan through legislation in 1981, although no country considered the move legal.

Minutes later, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted his appreciation. Netanyahu said, "President Trump has made history". Lindsey Graham (R-SC) toured the Golan and pledged to push for the United States to recognize Israel's sovereignty over the area.

But senior Trump administration officials tell McClatchy that some aides to the president, including National Security Advisor John Bolton, now favor the move. Many Arab governments couldn't care less about the Golan, but their official stated position is that it is occupied Syrian territory that needs to be returned.

"You talked about Hamas, Hezbollah, the Houthis, all of these entities that present risks to Middle East stability and to Israel", said Pompeo. Ali Abunimah, co-founder of Electronic Intifada Joins Rick Sanchez to discuss todays tweet as well as other concessions like moving the United States embassy and the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capitol. 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".

Neither were accompanied by Israeli leaders during the hugely symbolic visits.

Netanyahu thanked Pompeo for the Trump administration's strong stance against Iran, which Israel regards as an existential threat.

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Most in Israel celebrated Trump's tweet Thursday, declaring that the time has come to "fully recognize Israel's Sovereignty over the Golan Heights".

President Donald Trump today announced over social media the USA should recognize Israel's annexation of the Golan Heights, Syrian territory that was captured in the June 1967 war. "You would have Iran on the shores of the Sea of Galilee".

President Donald Trump announced on Twitter Thursday that he would recognize and support Israel's control over the disputed Golan Heights territory on the border of Syria.

Pompeo is the highest-ranking American official to tour the holy site with any Israeli leader.

I'm guessing it's not a big concern of Trump's but if the USA is going to recognize Israel's annexation of the Golan then it really has no basis on which to continue rejecting Russia's annexation of Crimea.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo touches the stones of the Western Wall during a visit to the site in Jerusalem's Old City, March 21, 2019.

Pompeo says he thinks it's important and symbolic to visit the wall with the Israeli leader Thursday as a show of USA support for Israel. Pompeo is an ardent USA national security advocate and is widely considered positively disposed towards Israel.

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