March 25 (UPI) — Less than one week after saying the United States should fully recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the disputed Golan Heights, President Donald Trump signed a proclamation Monday at the White House making the stance official.
The stretch of land between Israel and Syria has been disputed since Israel seized it during the Six-Day War in 1967. Earlier this month, the U.S. State Department said it redetermined the territory to be “Israeli-controlled,” instead of its past designation as “Israeli-occupied.” Some nations consider the Golan Heights to be part of Syria.
“This was a long time in the making. Should have taken place decades ago,” Trump said at the signing.
Netanyahu told Trump that Israel has never had a better friend.
“Your proclamation comes at a time when Golan is more important than ever for our security,” he said.
Syria said the United States’ recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights represents contempt for the international community.
“The U.S. president has recognized the annexation of the occupied Syrian Golan to the Zionist occupation entity in a flagrant aggression of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic, turning a blind eye to all international reactions that condemned such resolution,” a Syrian Foreign and Expatriates Ministry official said.
Netanyahu cut his visit to the United States short Monday after Israel Defense Forces retaliated for an early-morning rocket attack by targeting Hamas in the Gaza Strip. A rocket fired from Gaza hit a home in central Israel.
Netanyahu was scheduled to give a speech Tuesday at the AIPAC policy conference but instead decided to head home.