President Trump signed a proclamation Monday that recognizes Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, formalizing the Middle East policy shift he announced over Twitter last week.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was with Trump at the White House as he signed the presidential proclamation. Prior to the signing, Netanyahu made remarks lavishing praise onto Trump that drew comparisons between the president and the Persian emperor Cyrus as heroic defenders of the Jewish people.
“Israel has never had a better friend than you,” Netanyahu said, enumerating several instances in which the administration has delivered on campaign promises favoring the Israeli leader, including U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear deal with Iran, restoration of sanctions on that country and the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital leading to the relocation of American embassy there.
“This is truly an historic day,” Netanyahu exclaimed, saying it has taken half a century “to translate our military victory into a diplomatic victory.”
“Your recognition is a two-fold act of historic justice. Israel won the Golan Heights in a just war of self-defense, and the Jewish people’s roots in the Golan go back thousands of years,” he added.
Following the signing, Trump said, “This was a long time in the making.”
The latest move reverses the position U.S. administrations have held for more than 50 years, when Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria during the 1967 Six-Day War. The region was annexed by the government in 1981, officially making it part of Israel and serving as a strategic military and agricultural post.
Netanyahu called the high ground “invaluable” to the national security of the nation, as did Trump’s proclamation.