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Netanyahu Says He Will Name Golan Heights Community After Trump

Netanyahu announced he will present the plan for government approval 'soon' as a gesture of thanks to the U.S. president for recognizing Israeli sovereignty there

President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu after the signing of a presidential order declaring U.S. recognition of Israeli sovereignty in Golan, March 25, 2019.
Susan Walsh,AP

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Tuesday that he will name a settlement in the Golan Heights after U.S. President Donald Trump as a gesture of thanks to the American president for recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the region.

Netanyahu made the announcement in a video statement he made alongside his wife Sara while visiting the country's northern region.

"I'm here on the beautiful Golan Heights. All Israelis were deeply moved when President Trump made his historic decision to recognize Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights," he said.

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"Therefore, after the Passover holiday, I intend to bring to the government a resolution calling for a new community on the Golan Heights named after President Donald J. Trump. Wishing you a happy holiday," Netanyahu concluded.

In March, Trump met with Netanyahu in Washington to sign a presidential proclamation officially recognizing the Golan Heights as Israeli territory, formalizing a move announced a week earlier on Twitter.

Netanyahu called Trump’s decision to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights “historic justice” and a “diplomatic victory,” saying that “Israel won the Golan Heights in a just war of defense.”

The international community does not recognize Israeli sovereignty over the area, but the ongoing conflict in Syria has complicated the matter of ownership.

Forces aligned with Syrian President Bashar Assad, including Hezbollah and Iran-backed militias, regularly clash with rebel forces on the Syrian side of the border.

Only around 12 percent of Golan Druze hold Israeli citizenship, since most still reject it on nationalist grounds, citing an allegiance to Syria.

Relations with local Israeli residents are, however, far better than between Palestinians and Israelis settlers in the West Bank.