"I still remember some people telling me during the last election that Trump would be tougher on Israel than Clinton. Lol."
Critics on Thursday swiftly condemned an announcement by President Donald Trump that he believes the U.S. should recognize Israel's claim over the Golan Heights, the Syrian territory Israel has illegally occupied for over half a century.
"After 52 years it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel's Sovereignty over the Golan Heights," the president said on Twitter, "which is of critical strategic and security importance to the State of Israel and Regional Stability!"
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
The announcement was met with praise by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
At a time when Iran seeks to use Syria as a platform to destroy Israel, President Trump boldly recognizes Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Thank you President Trump! @realDonaldTrump
— Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) March 21, 2019
If implemented as official U.S. policy, Trump's plan could have long lasting effects on the Middle East.
The territory was captured by Israel from Syria during the Six Day War in 1967 and officially annexed by Israel in 1981. While the annexation is effectively recognized as illegal under international law, Israel has never seriously entertained giving the territory back to Syria.'
Read more: No, Critics Declare in Response to Trump, Now Is Time to Give Occupied Golan Heights Back to Syria