Bolton: No plans for US to recognize Golan as Israeli territory

President Trump's National Security Advisor says US has no plans to recognize Israeli sovereignty over Golan Heights.

David Rosenberg ,

John Bolton in Jerusalem
John Bolton in Jerusalem
Ohad Zweigenberg/POOL

The US has no plans to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, President Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor John Bolton said Wednesday.

Speaking with the Reuters news agency during a visit to the Jewish state, Bolton said there are currently no plans to recognize Israel’s 1981 annexation of the Golan, or discussions within the Trump administration regarding the possibility of recognition.

“I’ve heard the idea being suggested but there’s no discussion of it, no decision within the U.S. government,” Bolton said.

“Obviously we understand the Israeli claim that it has annexed the Golan Heights - we understand their position - but there’s no change in the U.S. position for now.”

In recent months, there has been speculation the US could formally recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan, which was secured from Syria in June, 1967 before being placed under Israeli law in 1981 by the government of Menachem Begin.

The Reagan administration refused to recognize the 1981 annexation, and subsequent administrations have viewed the Golan as Syrian territory.

A report in mid-May by the Washington Free Beacon, however, claimed that Congressman Ron DeSantis (R-Florida) is pushing a bill in the House of Representatives calling for the recognition of Israeli sovereignty in the Golan.

Two weeks later, Israel Hayom reported that a plan to recognize Israeli sovereignty had been presented to both Israeli and US officials.

While the US reportedly is reportedly planning to unveil President Trump’s much-anticipated ‘Deal of the Century’, Bolton emphasized that the Trump administration would not force either side into accepting an agreement.

“I think it’s been the U.S. view for a long time that ultimately Israelis and Palestinians are going to have to agree on this,” Bolton said. “Nobody’s going to impose a peace in that respect.”

The comments came just hours after President Trump told supporters at a rally in West Virginia that Israel would have to pay a “higher price” in negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, following the relocation of the US embassy to Jerusalem.

"If there's ever going to be peace with the Palestinians, then this was a good thing to have done," Trump said on the embassy move. "We took it off the table. In past negotiations, they never got past Jerusalem becoming the capital. So I said 'let's take it off the table'. And you know what? In the negotiations, Israel will have to pay a higher price, because they won a very big thing. But I took it off the table."

"But they [the Palestinian Authority] will get something very good next, because it's their turn next. We'll see what happens. It's very interesting."