Trump gives Netanyahu part of Syria to boost Israeli leader’s flagging reelection campaign

By | March 21, 2019

Robert Mackey writes:

With a tweet posted on Thursday, President Donald Trump dismissed five decades of international consensus on the status of the Golan Heights, Syrian territory seized by Israel in 1967 during a preemptive war, declaring that the United States would recognize Israel’s annexation of the region.

Offered without explanation, the move looked to many Israeli, Palestinian and American observers like a transparent attempt to boost the reelection prospects of Trump’s embattled ally, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who faces corruption charges and could be defeated at the polls next month.

In reply to Trump’s tweet, Mohamed ElBaradei, the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, suggested that the American president “might want to consult with your international lawyers.” Trump’s declaration, ElBaradei noted, flies in the face a United Nations Security Council resolution adopted unanimously in 1967, which called for the “Withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied” in that summer’s conflict — including the Golan, as well as the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza — and emphasized, “the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war.”

It was not lost on some analysts that U.S. recognition of Israel’s right to annex territory it seized by force would also seem to pave the way for Trump to recognize Russia’s annexation of Crimea. [Continue reading…]

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