Following President Trump's announcement recognizing Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights, U.S. Sens. The move comes weeks before Israeli general elections and reverses the position US administrations have held for decades.
Mr Netanyahu has been pressing for the United States to recognise its claim to sovereignty over the Golan Heights, and raised that possibility in his first White House meeting with Mr Trump in February, 2017.
The Golan Heights, considered by Syria to be a part of its territory, was occupied by Israel during the 1967 Six-Day War.
In fact Israeli settlements there have been viewed as illegal under worldwide law. The UN special envoy for Syria, Geir Pedersen, recently reiterated that position.
Trump enjoys sky-high approval ratings in Israel, and his embrace of Netanyahu so close to the elections, coupled with delivering a long-sought recognition, could impact the outcome of the Israeli election.
A senior administration official said the President had been discussing his Golan move over the past few days with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, White House national security adviser John Bolton, senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt and USA ambassador to Israel David Friedman. Thank you President Donald J. Trump!, BBC reported.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pressed the United States to formally recognize Israel's annexation of the land, including making a public appeal for US help as he welcomed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Jerusalem on Wednesday. It was not until 1981 that Tel Aviv passed legislation formally annexing the area.
Former US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who served under President Barack Obama, said the move "raises a lot of concern" and said it is hard to not see this as an attempt to buttress Netanyahu's chances of remaining prime minister. "The president has given a pretty clear statement on his intent".
Trump's decision has been building up for several weeks now, a senior administration official tells CNN. "President Trump once again proves the strength of the alliance between the US and Israel".
National security adviser John Bolton, senior adviser Jared Kushner and special representative for worldwide negotiations Jason Greenblatt were consulted and supported the move, the official said.
Officials waved away any concerns about Israel's elections, the official said.
Greece-Cyprus-Israel summit in Jerusalem
The official declined to address whether there had been any consideration of the impact this could have on the Israeli elections.
Cotton, sources said, recently engaged with both Trump and Secretary of State Pompeo on the issue. The U.S. departure alarmed Israelis and pro-Israel U.S. lawmakers, although Netanyahu said he respected Trump's decision. Pompeo said the move was "truly historic".
Under the Trump administration, the USA has repeatedly endorsed controversial Israeli positions. Trump wrote on Twitter on Thursday.
"Certain destabilisation and bloodshed in our region", he said.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Twitter that Turkey "supports Syria's territorial integrity".
"The territorial integrity of states is the most fundamental principle of global law", he wrote on Twitter.
"While they are claiming to be trying to solve the conflict, such acts only make it more hard to resolve", he said.
Though it gives some ammunition to Israelis who are arguing that accepting investment from China is a threat to national security, in practice the USA threats are nearly certainly empty, as the Trump Administration is so determined to position itself as pro-Israel, it would be unthinkable for them to suddenly reverse course over a cellphone infrastructure contract or two.
It is "further evidence that the Trump administration is willing to ignore global law in order to satisfy Israeli demands, including Security Council resolutions supported by past administrations", the diplomat told CNN.
The plan, which has drawn widespread skepticism even before its unveiling, is intended not only to bring Israelis and Palestinians to the negotiating table but also draw Israel closer to its US -allied Arab neighbors.
A year ago the USA moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and backed Israel's assertion that the city is its capital.
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