Daily TIP

The Daily TIP: In Historic Move, Trump Says U.S. Will Recognize Israel's Sovereignty Over Golan Heights

Posted by Tip Staff - March 22, 2019

In Historic Move, Trump Says U.S. Will Recognize Israel's Sovereignty Over Golan Heights
In Major Breakthrough, Britain, Denmark Announce Opposition to Anti-Israel Resolutions at UNHRC
Sec. of State Pompeo, in First, Visits Western Wall with PM Netanyahu
Israelis Rake in Medals at Special Olympics World Games

In Historic Move, Trump Says U.S. Will Recognize Israel's Sovereignty Over Golan Heights

In a major policy shift, U.S. President Trump announced in a tweet Thursday that the United States will recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, the BBC reported.

"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!” Trump said in the tweet.

Israel captured most of the Golan Heights from Syria during the June 1967 Six Day War. While the Jewish State ceded a portion of the land as part of a separation of forces agreement with Syria following the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Israel has retained roughly two-thirds of the Heights. The Syrian regime has consistently sought to regain sovereignty over the region.

Earlier this month, for the first time, the U.S. referred to the Golan Heights as an area “under Israeli control,” instead of “occupied territory,” in its latest annual human rights report, published by the State Department.

Israel sees the Golan Heights as an important strategic asset in the defense of its northern borders. The territory forms a critical buffer zone of about 450 square miles between Israel and Syria.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has warned about Iranian "entrenchment" in the Syria conflict, tweeted his thanks to Trump on Thursday. "At a time when Iran seeks to use Syria as a platform to destroy Israel, President Trump boldly recognizes Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights," he wrote.

The shift in policy has gained increased bipartisan support in recent months. In January, House Majority Whip Steny Hoyer (D – Md.) said, “Israel should maintain control of the Golan Heights.”

Earlier, Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) sent a letter to U.S. President Donald Trump, calling for the official recognition. Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, is also supporting the move.

A month earlier, Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) introduced a resolution that stated, “Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights is critical to Israel’s national security” and that “Israel’s security from attack from Syria and Lebanon cannot be assured without Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.”

Read more at The Tower.

In Major Breakthrough, Britain, Denmark Announce Opposition to Anti-Israel Resolutions at UNHRC

The British and Danish governments announced Thursday that they will oppose every United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) measure on alleged Israeli violation of Palestinian human rights in the West Bank and Gaza under discriminatory Agenda Item 7.

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said in an op-ed published in the Jewish Chronicle that, “Two years ago, the United Kingdom said that unless the situation changed, we would vote against all texts proposed under Item 7.”

Hunt stressed: “Sadly, our concerns have not been heeded. So I have decided that we will do exactly what we said: Britain will now oppose every Item 7 resolution. On Friday we will vote against all four texts proposed in this way.”

Danish Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen announced similar measures Thursday, saying “Denmark will vote NO to all resolutions under #HRC Item 7.” The minister observed in a tweet that “It is fundamentally wrong that Israel as the only country in the world has an entire agenda item dedicated to it in the UN Human Rights Council.” He called Denmark’s opposition to the resolutions a matter “of principle.”

Agenda Item 7, a permanent fixture on the schedule, is exclusively devoted to discussing alleged human rights abuses in the West Bank and Gaza. Israel is the only country in the UNHRC with a dedicated council item.

The UNHRC is currently meeting in Geneva for its 40th session, in which member states will be voting on five anti-Israel resolutions, four of which fall under Agenda Item 7.

Hunt announced further that Britain “will continue to press for the abolition of Item 7, which only undermines the credibility of the world’s leading human rights forum.”

In response to Hunt’s announcement, TIP CEO & President Joshua S. Block issued the following statement: 

“Over the years, the UNHRC has come to be known as an arena for bashing Israel, misrepresenting Israel, and jeopardizing the security of Israeli civilians through bias and feckless policies. Agenda Item 7 doesn’t just single out Israel for scrutiny. It effectively prejudges Israel as guilty in any confrontation with the Palestinians, while absolving the Palestinian leadership of any responsibility in the conflict.

“This is not a recipe for stability and it is certainly not the path to peace. We urge other European Union nations to follow in the UK’s lead and oppose contentious Agenda Item 7.”

Read more at The Tower.

Sec. of State Pompeo, in First, Visits Western Wall with PM Netanyahu

Accompanied by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday paid a groundbreaking visit to the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem, The Times of Israel reported.

The Times called Pompeo’s visit to the historic landmark “significant,” as it “could be seen as tacit American recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the contested Jewish holy site and a shift in US policy.”

Because the international community does not recognize Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem, officials generally only visit the Old City of Jerusalem in a private capacity and not accompanied by Israeli officials.

Breaking with tradition, Pompeo said he thought it was important to visit the Western Wall with the Israeli leader as a show of support for the Jewish State.

“I think it’s symbolic that a senior American official go there with a prime minister of Israel,” he said ahead of the visit. “It’s a place that’s important to many faiths and I’m looking forward to it. I think it will be very special.”

The two men were joined by U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman. After signing a guestbook, the three officials walked up to the wall, each placing their right hands on the ancient stones. Netanyahu and Pompeo slipped a note in one of the cracks, a longstanding tradition.

In recent months, an increasing number of foreign leaders have defied standard protocol. In December, Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz visited the Jewish holy site as part of a tour of the Old City – the first time in recent memory a leader of a European Union nation visited the wall, even if the tour was billed as a “private visit.”

Pompeo is in Israel for talks about regional threats and efforts to export natural gas from the Mediterranean to Europe.

“It’s an unbreakable bond that’s based on shared values of liberty and democracy, and shared interest to fight the enemies of democracy, the enemies of our way of life, the terrorists that plague, that prowl our airspace and prowl our countries,” Netanyahu said Wednesday, hailing bilateral Israel-U.S. ties. The prime minister also praised U.S. President Donald Trump’s “historic” recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Read more at The Tower.

Israelis Rake in Medals at Special Olympics World Games

Twenty-seven Israeli athletes with intellectual disabilities competed at the 2019 Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates this week, joining more than 7,000 counterparts from over 170 countries.

The Israeli delegation competed in basketball (nine athletes), bowling (10 athletes), judo (two athletes) and swimming (six athletes) and won four gold medals, six silver medals and nine bronze medals.

The Special Olympics, founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, provides athletic training and competition in Olympic-style sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. It’s the largest global integrated sports organization, counting among its members almost 5 million athletes and over 1 million volunteers in 177 countries worldwide.

The 2019 World Games included competitions in fields such as athletics, badminton, cycling, soccer, sailing, tennis and volleyball.

According to Special Olympics Israel, there are some 40,000 people with intellectual disabilities in Israel, while Sports Olympics notes there some 200 million people with intellectual disabilities around the world.

The thousands of athletes competing in the Abu Dhabi games, the first Special Olympics World Games to be held in the Middle East, were joined by 2,500 coaches and about 20,000 volunteers.

Israel has no diplomatic relations with Abu Dhabi, but Israeli ministers have traveled there in the past on government business. In October 2018, Israeli athletes took part in the International Judo Federation Grand Slam in Abu Dhabi, and Israeli gold wins resulted in the Israeli anthem playing for the first time in the Gulf state.

(via Israel21c)

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