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International Relations

President Donald Trump on Thursday announced that the U.S. should recognise Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, an area seized from Syria and annexed in a move never recognised by the international community.

“After 52 years, it is time for the United States to fully recognise Israel’s Sovereignty over the Golan Heights,” Mr. Trump tweeted. He called the territory “of critical strategic and security importance to the State of Israel.” Mr. Trump will host Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House next Monday and Tuesday. Mr. Netanyahu, who is running for re-election, will be in Washington for the annual conference of the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee pro-Israel lobbying group.

The Golan Heights move was hinted at a week ago when the State Department changed its usual description of the area as “occupied” to “Israeli-controlled”.

The Trump State Department has also dropped previous definitions of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip as being “occupied” by Israel.

Israel occupied the Golan Heights, West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip in the 1967 Six-Day War. It later annexed the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem in moves never recognised by the most countries.

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