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Oil profits grease Trump administration’s move to recognize Israeli annexation of Golan

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19.03.2019

In an annual human rights report, the State Department referred to the Golan Heights as “Israeli-controlled,” dropping the international norm of citing the contested area as “Israeli-occupied.” The change in wording is significant.

The Golan Plateau is considered to be Syrian territory under international law, according to UN resolutions. Israel has occupied the strategically important area overlooking the Jordan Valley since the 1967 Six Day War. In 1981, Israel formally annexed the land, but the self-declared claim has never been recognized internationally.

Hence, the normative term “Israeli-occupied Golan” in UN terminology, not “Israeli-controlled.”

The Trump administration, however, seems to be edging towards a landmark shift in US policy, which would officially recognize the Golan as part of Israel. A senior White House official was quoted last week as denying there was a change in US policy regarding the disputed territory. But several signs suggest otherwise.

When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held his first visit with newly elected President Trump in the White House in February 2017, top of the agenda for their discussions was for the US to reciprocate long-held demands by Israel for Washington to assent to its annexation of the Golan.

Last year, Israel’s Intelligence Minister Israel Katz told Reuters in an exclusive interview that he was confident the Trump administration was ready to make a declaration on Golan in his country’s favor. “I reckon there is great ripeness and a high probability this will happen,” said Katz, adding that the move would be within the “next year.” His interview with Reuters was in May, some 10 months ago.

Earlier this month, US Senator Lindsey Graham, who is close to the Trump administration, went on a tour of the Golan accompanied by Netanyahu. Following the tour, Graham told media reporters he would be pushing for........

© RT.com