Trump says the USA should recognize Israel's sovereignty over Golan Heights

18 2017 shows an Israeli flag fluttering above the wreckage of an Israeli tank sitting on a hill in the Golan Heights and overlooking the border with Syria

Syrian President Bashar Assad as members of the Druze community attend a rally in the Druze village of Majdal Shams in the Golan Heights commemorating the 45th anniversary of the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, on October 6, 2018. Netanyahu's spokesman tweeted out this picture of a phone call with President Trump.

Netanyahu, who faces an election in Israel on April 9, has been pressing for the United States to recognize its claim to sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

"You've made history", Netanyahu told Trump in a phone call after the announcement, according to the prime minister's office.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked US President Donald Trump after he said it was time to recognise Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

The White House announced Wednesday that Netanyahu would be welcomed in Washington over two days next week.

A senior administration official said the president had been discussing his Golan move over the last few days with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, White House national security adviser John Bolton, senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt and US ambassador to Israel David Friedman.

'I think, for this reason, and many more, it is time that the worldwide community recognises Israel's stay on the Golan, and the fact that the Golan will always remain part of the State of Israel'. 'All of you can imagine what would have happened if Israel were not in the Golan: We would have Iran on the shores of the Sea of Galilee'.

WATCH: Netanyahu discusses Israeli sovereignty in Golan Heights with U.S.

Greece-Cyprus-Israel summit in Jerusalem
Trump announces US will recognize Israeli sovereignty over Golan Heights

Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Six Day War and extended Israeli law to the territory in 1981, a step tantamount to annexation.

The Golan Heights move was hinted at a week ago when the State Department changed its usual description of the area as "occupied" to "Israeli-controlled".

Netanyahu has accused Iran of attempting to set up a terrorist network to target Israel from the Golan Heights, using the incident to repeat his goal of global recognition for Israel's claim on the area.

A separate section of the report on the West Bank and Gaza Strip also did not refer to those territories as being "occupied" or under "occupation".

The tweet came during a visit of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Jerusalem.

Netanyahu is scheduled to meet with Trump at the White House twice next week.

Coming just three weeks before a closely contested Israeli election, Pompeo's trip to Jerusalem was widely seen in Israel as a boost for the prime minister, who enjoys a close relationship with Trump. The Israeli leader will be in Washington for the annual conference of the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) pro-Israel lobbying group.

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