Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday he will propose the government rename a community in the Golan Heights after US President Donald Trump following the latter’s decision to recognize the disputed northern region as Israeli territory.
“All Israelis were deeply moved when President Trump made his historic decision,” Netanyahu announced in a video statement while he and his family toured in the region for the Jewish holiday of Passover.
“There is a need to express our appreciation by naming a community after Donald Trump in the Golan Heights. I will bring that before the government for approval soon.”
Trump broke longstanding international consensus last month tweeting that it was “time” to recognize Israeli sovereignty “which is of critical strategic and security importance to the State of Israel and regional stability.”
Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Arab-Israeli War and later annexed the territory in a move never recognized by the international community.
The American president followed-up the tweet with an official declaration recognizing Israeli sovereignty during a meeting with the prime minister at the White House just two weeks before Israel’s election saw Netanyahu re-elected for a record-breaking fifth term.
Condemnations of the US move were swift and numerous from the international community after Trump announced his decision to abruptly shift the US policy of over thirty years.
Slammed by Syria as a blatant attack on their sovereignty and territorial integrity, the move was met with wide-ranging opposition.
Damascus and its allies in the region said it violates international law. France and Russia said the same.
Under international law, the area remains disputed territory following Israel’s occupation of the plateau during the Six Day war.
It was officially annexed in 1981 and has been a stumbling block in the conflict with northern neighbor Syria.
The Golan Heights decision is the latest major move in favor of Israel by Trump, who in 2017 recognized the disputed city of Jerusalem as the country’s capital.
Israel long urged the US to recognize its sovereignty over the mountainous Golan Heights region.
With more than 20,000 people living in the area now, and unlike the West Bank or Gaza, most Israelis would find it difficult to believe that the Golan is anything else but Israel.
Besides security considerations, the Golan is slowly becoming a touristic destination, with the Hermon mountain, Israel’s only skiing resort, the jewel in the crown.
The decision came as Washington readies to unveil its long-awaited plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace in the coming months, even though the Palestinian leadership has frozen contact with Washington over President Donald Trump’s controversial 2017 declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Palestinians believe the upcoming plan will be blatantly biased in favor of Israel.