Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, territory Israel seized from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war.
(AhlulBayt News Agency) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, territory Israel seized from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war.
Most of the world considers the Golan, a high plateau between northeastern Israel and southwestern Syria, to be occupied by Israel, which annexed the territory in 1981 in a move not recognized internationally.
During a briefing with Israeli and foreign media after meeting Trump at the White House, Netanyahu was asked whether he had raised the Golan issue. "Yes," he replied.
Asked how the U.S. president had responded, he said: "I wouldn't say that he was surprised by my request." Netanyahu did not elaborate.
Israel made a similar request to the Obama administration in 2015, but it was rejected, diplomats said at the time.
The Trump administration has talked about working more closely with Russia to end the Syrian conflict. Recognizing Israel's sovereignty in the Golan could undermine those efforts.
Last December, the UN General Assembly once again passed a resolution calling on Israel to withdraw from Syria’s Golan Heights.
Syria says Israel and its Western and regional allies are aiding Takfiri militant groups operating inside the Arab country. The Israeli regime has even set up field hospitals in the Golan Heights to treat wounded militants.
The Syrian army has repeatedly seized huge quantities of Israeli-made weapons and advanced military equipment from foreign-backed militants inside Syria.
In the Wednesday meeting, Trump and Netanyahu also discussed the Syria crisis with the Israeli premier claiming that Tel Aviv had no interest in getting involved in the conflict.
Netanyahu, however, noted that Israel would obviously act to halt any potential threats to its security.
The Israeli prime minister is in the United States for a reset of relations with Washington following a period of tumultuous relations under the administration of former president Barack Obama.