Israel’s ambassador to the United States has said that President Donald Trump will formalize his decision to recognize the Golan Heights as part of Israel during Monday’s visit to the White House by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Ambassador Ron Dermer’s comments came in response to a question about the threat Iran poses to Israel in Syria. He made the announcement at the opening night of this year’s American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference in Washington, D.C.
“If we’re going to talk about Syria, I think it’s important for me to thank President Trump for recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights,” Dermer said. “I think that deserves a standing ovation,” he told the crowd, who followed suit.
He further said that the recognition represents a diplomatic victory, following 52 years after the military victory by Israel’s soldiers. “It took us 52 years to do that, and I think it will formally be declared, that diplomatic victory, tomorrow at the White House, and the people of Israel are very grateful to President Trump.”
The Golan Heights were not until now recognized by the United States, which said that the annexed territory’s permanent status needed to be determined through negotiations. However, President Trump has now decided to reverse that policy and formally recognize the strip of land as part of the State of Israel.
“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,” he tweeted last week.
Dermer’s remarks Sunday set an official timetable for the recognition to happen.
President Trump’s decision was largely seen as a victory for Netanyahu, although he has denied it was made in order to help the Israeli prime minister, who faces re-election in two weeks.