Amid a series of meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Trump announced on Twitter today that he believes the United States should recognize Israeli sovereignty over Golan Heights, stating “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”.
The announcement is a substantial diplomatic victory for Netanyahu, who’s conservative Likud party is up for re-election within the next month. President Trump has been a close friend and ally of the Prime Minister’s. Fresh off his own visit to Israel, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said of the US-Israel alliance that “the Israeli people can have confidence that President Trump will maintain this close bond. I know that you and the President have an outstanding working relationship.”
Israel has been under siege by a barrage of Palestinian missile attacks over the past two weeks. Just last week, dozens of rockets were fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip. The Israeli Defense Forces responded by targeting 100 Palestinian military installations. Tensions continue to rise in the region with no foreseeable end. The Hamas has promised to take action against the militants that fired the rockets, claiming they were rogue actors, but have reportedly not yet done so.
President Trump is extremely popular in Israel, where according to recent polling, he enjoys high approval ratings. A poll in late January found that the President has a 67% approval rating in Israel, 19% higher than Obama’s. President Trump’s Israel policy has been seen as a major departure from Obama’s. President Obama famously snubbed Netanyahu in 2010 refusing to meet with him before the Israeli elections.
President Trump has taken various other measures intended to show his support for Israel, including relocating the US embassy to Jerusalem just last year. While the President has been a friend of Israel since taking office, the American people are becoming increasingly skeptical of the US-Israel bond, with a recent Gallup poll putting American support for Israel at the lowest its been in a decade.