Trump's Golan Heights recognition 'an act of brigandry' - George Galloway

Explained: Golan Heights; Where are they, and why do they matter?

Trump shakes up the Middle East once again

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is due to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump Monday, then immediately fly back home, cutting short his trip in response to a rocket attack from the Gaza Strip.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (neh-ten-YAH'-hoo) says Israel is "responding forcefully" to a morning rocket attack in central part of the Jewish state.

Israel has long argued that the strategically important area has for all practical purposes been fully integrated into Israel since it was captured from Syria in the 1967 Mideast war and that control of the strategic plateau is needed as protection from Iran and its allies in Syria.

"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".

Tarawneh, who is also president of Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union (APU), said that the APU has issued a similar statement, condemning Trump's remarks and emphasising Syria's sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Under worldwide law, territories are considered Israeli-occupied territory of Syria.

The move appeared to give Mr Netanyahu a boost ahead of the closely contested 9 April Israeli elections. "You demonstrate it by the sanctions you have imposed on Iran, by the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moving the embassy", said Netanyahu.

Asked specifically about whether his Golan Heights announcement was related to Netanyahu's upcoming election, Trump denied it.

Minister Walid al-Moualem added: "No matter how many years have passed, this will not change the fact that the Golan is an occupied Syrian territory". Netanyahu, one of the few Trump allies left, is facing a hard re-election campaign.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who has refused to talk to the United States since Trump ordered the US embassy moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, expressed his "absolute rejection" of the Golan move in a statement issued by the Palestinian Authority news service Wafa.

In a speech to the U.S. pro-Israel lobby AIPAC, Gantz also spelled out further his views on peace prospects with the Palestinians, insisting that Israel's military will always control security in the West Bank.

A couple look towards signs pointing out distances to different cities, on Mount Bental, an observation post in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights that overlooks the Syrian side of the Quneitra crossing, Israel January 21, 2019.

Israel annexed the Golan in 1981 in a move never recognised by the worldwide community. Trump's move cripples a 52-year-old United Nations resolution which declares the "acquisition of territory by war" to be inadmissible, which effectively undermined the Western position opposing the Russia's annexation of Crimea.

The Security Council is expected to discuss the U.S. action on Wednesday, when it decides on extending the mandate of the United Nations force deployed in the Golan as a buffer between Israel and Syria.

In signing the proclamation, Trump said "This was a long time in the making". But, like the move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, it appears unattached to any strategy other than rewarding Mr. Netanyahu, who has become one of Mr. Trump's most conspicuous global supporters.

Trump's statement "will not change the reality that (.) the Arab Golan Heights is Syrian land occupied by Israel by military force in 1967", said Abdul Latif Al Zayani, the GCC secretary general.

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