In 2016, longtime Trump advisor and current US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, said Trump would recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the entire West Bank if Israel “deemed it necessary.”
By Whitney Webb | Mint Press News | Mar 25, 2019
‘After years of creeping Israeli de facto annexation of the large swathes of the West Bank through settlement expansion, the creation of closed military zones and other measures, Israel appears to be getting closer to enacting legislation that will formally annex parts of the West Bank.’
— Michael Lynk, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories
After US President Donald Trump announced that he planned to unilaterally recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights — which is internationally recognized as Syrian territory — some powerful Israeli politicians are now petitioning Trump to also recognize Israeli sovereignty over Palestine’s occupied West Bank.
Though Trump casually announced that it was “time for the United States to fully recognize Israel’s Sovereignty [sic] over the Golan Heights” last Thursday, he made the US’s recognition of Israel’s claim to the territory official on Monday, at a signing ceremony that was attended by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Trump’s willingness to use his executive power to grant Israeli land grabs “official recognition” — such as in Jerusalem and now the Golan — has emboldened far-right Israeli politicians who have long been eager to annex other territories.
Whether Trump would entertain yet another Israeli request for unilateral recognition of illegally held territory — such as the West Bank — is a matter of debate. While it is known that Trump’s largest political donor — Zionist billionaire Sheldon Adelson — was responsible for the Jerusalem move, it is not known if Adelson had a hand in Trump’s recent decision to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
However, the Golan Heights decision seems to be a combination of an effort to boost Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s chances of reelection in May as well as pressure from the US-based oil company Genie Energy, which seeks to develop the large oil reserves in the Golan discovered in 2015. Genie Energy’s Israeli subsidiary, Afek, was granted exclusive drilling rights in the Golan by Netanyahu soon after the oil’s discovery and the company’s board is stocked with powerful people, including Jacob Rothschild, Dick Cheney and Rupert Murdoch, among others.