US Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) on Thursday welcomed President Donald Trump’s announcement recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
“We applaud the president for formally recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, an acknowledgement that enhances the national security of both Israel and the United States,” the three lawmakers said in a statement.
“At a time when Israel's northern border is threatened by Iranian forces and their proxies in Lebanon and Syria, including by Hezbollah's rockets, armed drones, and newly discovered terror tunnels, this recognition will be great news for our ally and its right to self-defense.”
“More work remains to be done to align American policy with today’s recognition. We look forward to advancing our bicameral legislation on the Golan Heights which acknowledges Israel’s sovereignty over its territory, streamlines Congressional language, and expands the basis for joint projects on the issue,” they said.
In February, Cruz, Cotton and Gallagher introduced companion bills establishing that it shall be the policy of the United States to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
In the last Congress, Cruz and Cotton introduced S.Res.732, a resolution expressing the sense of the Senate that the United States should recognize Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
Several other US lawmakers praised Trump’s move on Thursday.
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) tweeted, “President Trump’s decision to recognize the Golan as part of Israel is strategically wise and overall awesome. Well done, Mr. President! Now I, along with Senator @tedcruz, will try to get Congress to follow your lead. …The Golan was used by Syria in 2 wars of aggression against Israel. Additionally Syria's Assad, Iran, & Hezbollah need to pay a price for dismembering Syria. To return the Golan Heights to Syria would be to reward aggression and put the Jewish State at perpetual risk. … It is now time for Congress to follow President Trump’s lead on this issue. I’m urging Senate leadership to take up Senator Cruz’s legislation to recognize that the Golan Heights are part of Israel. … I hope and believe there is widespread bipartisan support for this proposal. Congressional passage would reinforce President @realDonaldTrump's decision as United States policy.”
Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) tweeted, “We should support #Israel sovereignty over #Golan. #Assad allows #Iran & #Hezbollah to operate with impunity in southern #Syria. If Assad got ahold of Golan they would operate against Israel from there too. Israel needs that buffer to be permanent.”
Rep Mark Meadows (R-NC) wrote, “Once again the President delivers on his promise to stand with our ally Israel. America should absolutely recognize Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights and support their right to defend themselves in the region. Bravo @realDonaldTrump.”
Rep Paul Gosar (R-AZ) said, “Under international law the Golan Heights belongs to Israel. We should recognize that reality on the ground with a realistic foreign policy.”
Also welcoming the move was retired NY State Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who tweeted, “It’s with great appreciation that Jews around the world can celebrate Purim a little more securely thanks to President @realDonaldTrump’s monumental recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the strategically vital Golan Heights. To the president I say, thank you.”
In a tweet earlier on Thursday, Trump wrote, "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!"
In a joint press conference with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo following the announcement, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called Trump's announcement a "Purim miracle."
"President Trump has just made history," Netanyahu said. "I called him. I thanked him on behalf of the people of Israel."
"He did it again," Netanyahu observed. "First he recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital and moved the embassy here. Then he pulled out of the disastrous Iran treaty and reimposed sanctions. But now he did something of equal historic importance: he recognized Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights."
"He did so at a time when Iran is trying to use Syria as a platform to attack and destroy Israel. The message that President Trump has given the world is that America stands by Israel.