An Israeli official pointed to US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Israeli sovereignty on the Golan Heights as an opportunity to officially reclaim other biblical lands captured during the Six Day War. The New York Times identified the official as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, suggesting that in light of over 70 years of Arab terror, the Netanyahu-led government is contemplating the possible annexation of parts of Judea and Samaria surrendered to the Palestinians in numerous and unsuccessful “peace deals.”
The report that Israel is seriously considering such a move came just hours after Trump broke with over 50 years of US policy by signing a proclamation accepting and recognizing Israeli control over the Golan, a highly strategic mountainous buffer with war-torn Syria and Iran that Israel captured in 1967.
“We are in a confrontation with Iran and this (Golan recognition) hurts the Iranians, demonstrating that the US gives us absolute and powerful backing,” the official told an entourage of Israeli reporters accompanying Netanyahu on his return flight to Israel. “Everyone says it is impossible to hold an occupied territory, but behold — it is possible if it is ours in a defensive war,” the official added in Hebrew.
Netanyahu said that US recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights underscores “one important principle in international relations: When you start wars of aggression, and lose territory, don’t come back and claim it later. It belongs to us.”
Many Israelis, including some right-wing government ministers, believe that after more than 25 years of failed attempts to come to a sensible peace agreement with the Palestinians, it is high time for Israel to reclaim sovereignty over parts, or even all of, Judea and Samaria (aka the West Bank).
Following Israel’s upcoming general election on April 9, Trump is scheduled to present what he calls the “Deal of the Century,” another attempt to bring an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. At the heart of any proposal for peace will be determining the future status of Jerusalem, Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria and the Jordan Valley, an important buffer zone between Jordan and the Palestinians. The Palestinian Authority has already said, even before seeing it, that they reject the plan.