WASHINGTON – Following up President Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel along with the relocation of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv, Republican lawmakers including Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Rep. Ron DeSantis of Florida are promoting recognition of the Golan Heights as sovereign Israeli territory.
The six-point plan calls for the implementation of trade agreements between the U.S. and Israel on the Golan Heights and the formulation of a letter “recognizing the changes that have taken place on the ground,” similar to a document that former President George W. Bush presented to former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon prior to the 2005 disengagement, acknowledging the existence of large Israeli settlement blocs in Judea and Samaria and saying it would be “unrealistic” to expect Israel to fully withdraw.
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Recently, a parallel effort put forth by DeSantis was voted down by the House of Representatives.
Other components of the effort include: channeling funds into joint Israeli-American projects on the Golan Heights; expanding U.S.-Israeli agreements, such as the free-trade agreement between the two nations, to apply to the Golan Heights and labeling products manufactured or grown on the Golan as “Made in Israel”; formulating a congressional document declaring that Syria will not return to the Israeli Golan Heights; sending congressional delegations to the Golan Heights; and formulating congressional documents that recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan.
The Golan spans about 690 square miles bordered by the Yarmouk River in the south, the Sea of Galilee and Hula Valley in the west, the Anti-Lebanon with Mount Hermon in the north and Wadi Raqqad in the east. Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in the Six-Day war of 1967. Israel officially annexed the territory in 1981.
With Syria engulfed in a civil war and Israel developing Jewish communities and industries in the Golan, there is consensus in the Jewish state among most political factions and parties that the historically Jewish Golan will never change hands. Prior to the 1967 war, Syria militarized the Golan and used the mountains to fire artillery at Israeli positions. The high ground is also considered militarily significant for the defense of Israel.