US President Donald Trump's support of Israel’s claims over disputed Golan Heights comes at a time when Netanyahu’s credibility has taken a massive slide just weeks before elections.
President Donald Trump announced on Thursday that the United States should recognise Israeli sovereignty over Golan Heights, an area seized from Syria and annexed in a move that was 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," Trump said in a tweet. Trump called the territory "of critical strategic and security importance to the State of Israel and Regional Stability!"
Minutes later, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted his appreciation: "At a time when Iran seeks to use Syria as a platform to destroy Israel, President Trump boldly recognises Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Thank you President Trump!"
After 52 years it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel’s Sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which is of critical strategic and security importance to the State of Israel and Regional Stability!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 21, 2019
Israel's attorney-general announced a month ago that he intends to indict Netanyahu on corruption charges, a decision that came just weeks before a closely-contested national election.
It is the first time a serving Israeli prime minister has been put on official notice of planned prosecution, and deepened uncertainty over how Netanyahu, a veteran right-wing leader, will fare against a coalition of upstart centrist rivals.
An actual filing of the charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust would depend on the outcome of a required hearing, the Justice Ministry said. That could take months to complete.
Trump’s presidency serving Israeli causes
Trump's tweet came as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was in Jerusalem. Reporters asked Pompeo about the issue, but he declined to answer. The move is the second recent diplomatic bombshell dropped by Washington, which is Israel's main backer, as it seeks to redraw the fraught Middle East map.
In 2017, Trump went against decades of practice by recognising the disputed city of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, rather than the previously accepted Tel Aviv. Trump will host Netanyahu at the White House next Monday and Tuesday. The Israeli leader, who is running for re-election, will be in Washington for the annual conference of the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a pro-Israel lobbying group.
Trump’s recognition of Golan Heights appears to have been initially greeted with more anger in Washington than in the capitals of the Middle East. That is because the region is recovering from years of conflict and instability, and Trump’s decision is likely seen within the context of the rest of his unilateral action, from leaving the Iran nuclear deal to moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem.
#BREAKING Under UN resolutions, Israel cannot lay claim not a bit on Golan Heights, Turkey’s President Erdogan says— ANADOLU AGENCY (ENG) (@anadoluagency) March 22, 2019
Israel would be in big trouble without Saudi Arabia, US President Donald Trump said on Thursday, as he hailed Riyadh's role in Middle East, during a brief press conference.
"If you look at Israel, Israel would be in big trouble without Saudi Arabia. So what does that mean? [Is] Israel going to leave? Do you want Israel to leave? We have a very strong ally in Saudi Arabia," Trump told reporters at his Florida estate when asked about journalist Jamal Khashoggi's killing and if he is holding Saudi’s highest rulers accountable
Netanyahu readiness to ‘give back’ the Heights to Assad
Recently, Haaretz reported that Netanyahu has tried to conduct advanced negotiations with Assad to withdraw Israelis from the Golan Heights so that in return that Assad would distance state political strategies from Iran and Hezbollah.
Assad rejected this offer. And the announcement by Trump did not elicit any response from any Arab state leader.