First in Poland it was the proposed “Fort Trump,” but now in Israel it is “Trump Heights”. In a breaking story that had us doing a double take just to assure it is indeed real, a new Israeli settlement in the occupied Golan Heights has been named ‘Trump Heights’ in honor Trump’s deeply controversial decision to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the territory.
None other than Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu presided over the opening ceremony, which featured the unveiling of a large sign bearing Trump’s name and US-Israeli criss-crossing flags.
The United Nations and other countries have not given international backing to the US recognition, which further last month involved the State Department officially changing world maps to reflect the new status. The settlement is yet to be established though the sign is in place, in what is sure to unleash a new wave of controversy and protests in Syria and the Palestinian territories.
Israel’s premier pledged in April to name a new settlement after Mr Trump, soon after the president overturned decades of US policy by recognising Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan.
The region is located about 60km (40 miles) south-west of the Syrian capital, Damascus, and covers about 1,000 sq km (400 sq miles).
The new settlement is expected to be built near Kela in the northern Golan Heights. —BBC
Israel fully annexed the Golan Heights in 1981 after capturing it from Syria during the Six-Day War of 1967. The United Nations has never recognized Israeli annexation and settlement there, but has repeatedly condemned it — all of which has resulted in a Syria-Israel state of war ever since.
Later in the day Sunday President Trump retweeted a congratulations and photos highlighting the event – which had been sent from the US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, who was on hand representing the United States during the ceremony.
Friedman noted it was the “first time Israel has dedicated a village in honor of a sitting president since Harry Truman (1949)” and further wished the president a happy birthday weekend (June 14).
Apparently, Israel’s Golan Regional Council has already received hundreds of requests from Jewish applicants abroad, especially in the US and Canada, who wish to move into the settlement.
According to local Israeli media, the Golan authority offices “have been ‘flooded’ with requests for information about new Golan community.”