Trump just gave Netanyahu a pre-election gift and made a mockery of international law all at once:
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 21, 2019
There were hints in recent days that U.S. recognition of Israel’s claim to the Golan Heights was coming, and now the president has done it. Israel’s control of this territory dates back to the 1967 war, when Israel grabbed this part of Syria and refused to return it. Israel has no legitimate claim to this territory, and in recognizing Israeli sovereignty over land that it seized during a war the U.S. is sending a potentially very dangerous message to governments all around the world. Perhaps most dangerous of all is the signal that it sends to Israeli hard-liners that want to annex some or all of the West Bank. It tells them that illegal occupation will eventually be rewarded with full U.S. recognition, and it also tells them that the U.S. isn’t going to pay any attention to international law when it comes to making decisions regarding Israeli control over occupied territories.
Trump’s statement is just the latest in a string of bad decisions that are absurdly biased in favor of Israel. No U.S. interests are advanced by doing this, and it discredits any criticisms that the U.S. wants to make of any other government’s illegal occupation and annexation of territory. The double standard that the U.S. applies when it comes to violations of international law by itself and its clients could not be more obvious, and it will make it much more difficult to challenge similarly egregious violations in the future.