by: Joshua Spurlock
Monday, 17 June 2019 | United States President Donald Trump made history earlier this year by recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the strategic Golan Heights region at Israel’s northern border, and on Sunday, Israel made history in return by naming a town for a US president for the first time in 70 years. Ramat Trump, or “Trump Heights” in English, was formally approved by the Israeli Cabinet, and a sign with the special name was unveiled in a special ceremony in the Golan.
“This is an historic day for us,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in comments released by his office. “We are going to do two things: Establish a new community on the Golan Heights, something which has not been done for many years. This is an act of settlement and of Zionism of the first order.
“The second thing is to honor our friend, a very great friend of the State of Israel, President Donald Trump, who recently recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. He is the first international leader to have done so. He tore the mask off this hypocrisy, which does not recognize what is self-evident.”
While Israel formally annexed the Golan decades ago, the international community refused to acknowledge Israel’s ownership of the key mountainous region, which Israel liberated from Syria in the defensive 1967 war. While it may have seemed obvious that the land was Israel’s, Netanyahu said, “Sometimes even the self-evident needs to be stated, which President Trump has also done in this case.”
Netanyahu compared that to Trump’s acknowledging the “self-evident” in moving the US embassy to Israel to Jerusalem, in leaving the nuclear agreement with Iran, and “is doing at the moment in standing steadfast against Iranian aggression in the Gulf of Oman, the Persian Gulf and the region in general.”
Trump signed a presidential declaration in March officially recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, another step in a long line of Israel-supportive activities. A key part of that support has been US Ambassador David Friedman, who joined the Israeli Cabinet and Netanyahu for the ceremony in the Golan. He pointed out not only the history of the event but also the proximity to some personal history of the president—Trump’s birthday was last Friday.
“A great day on the Golan. PM Netanyahu and I had the honor to dedicate “Trump Heights”—first time Israel has dedicated a village in honor of a sitting president since Harry Truman (1949). Happy Birthday Mr. President!!” Friedman said on Twitter.
The sovereignty of the Jewish state in the Golan was the focus of the event. Netanyahu made it clear that the expanding Israeli presence of the Golan would benefit everyone who lives there, regardless of ethnicity.
“We are proud that we have this opportunity to establish the community and also honor a great friend,” said Netanyahu.
“I am very grateful to all of you who have come here. We will continue to build and develop the Golan for all its residents, Jewish and non-Jewish alike, and for the state as a whole.”
Posted on June 17, 2019
Source: (This article was originally published by the Mideast Update on June 16, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today.)
Photo Credit: Kobi Gideon, GPO
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