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WASHINGTON: US Pre­sident Donald Trump recognised the occupied Golan Heights as Israeli territory on Monday in an election boost for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

During a White House visit by Netanyahu, Trump signed a proclamation officially granting US recognition of the Golan Heights as Israeli territory — a dramatic shift from decades of US policy. Israel seized the strategic land from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war.

The recognition appea­red to be the most overt gesture by the Republican president to help Netanyahu, who had been pressing Trump for the move. The Israeli prime minister, who faces an election on April 9, cut short his US visit on Monday after a rocket fired from Gaza injured seven people near Tel Aviv. He had arrived in Washing­ton the previous day, originally for a four-day trip.

Signing the document as Netanyahu looked over his shoulder, Trump said: “This was a long time in the making.” He handed the pen that he used for his signature to Netanyahu, and said: “Give this to the people of Israel.”

Published in Dawn, March 26th, 2019