After Trump's Move, U.S. Will Now Register People Born in Golan Heights as Native Israelis

Official documents will be updated to reflect recognition of Israel's sovereignty over disputed territory

File photo: An Israeli soldier stands on Mount Bental, an observation point in the Golan Heights that overlooks the Syrian side of the Quneitra crossing, Israel, May 10, 2018.
Ronen Zvulun/Reuters

WASHINGTON — The U.S. State Department has updated its policy to reflect President Donald Trump’s decision to officially recognize the Golan Heights as part of Israel, so that people born in the disputed territory will be registered as born in Israel.

Official documents, such as American passports, will also reflect the State Department’s policy, in light of Trump’s decision last month.

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So far, official U.S. documents referred to the Golan Heights as a territory occupied by Israel, which has its own specific designation. A similar policy is still in place for the West Bank and Jerusalem.

Earlier this week, Trump’s special envoy to the Middle East, Jason Greenblatt, tweeted an official U.S. government map showing the Golan Heights as part of Israel. The official map, like previous U.S. government maps, doesn’t show the West Bank as part of Israel.

Greenblatt wrote that the map reflects Trump’s recent decision to recognize Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights, which was conquered by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War, along with East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The Sinai Peninsula was also conquered in that war but returned to Egypt as part of a 1979 peace agreement.

In March, Trump met with Prime Minister Benjamin 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.

In a tweet on his personal Twitter account, Trump wrote: “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!”

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."