U.S. President Donald Trump will on Monday sign a decree recognizing Israeli sovereignty on the Golan Heights, Acting Foreign Minister Israel Katz said Sunday.
Trump is to host Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House on Monday.
"Tomorrow, President Trump, in the presence of PM Netanyahu, will sign a decree recognizing Israel's sovereignty on the Golan. Israel-U.S. ties are closer than ever," Katz tweeted in Hebrew.
The announcement comes just three days after Trump tweeted that it was time for the US to "fully recognize" Israeli sovereignty on the Golan Heights, confirming a shift in American foreign policy hinted at for several weeks.
"After 52 years it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel’s (s)overeignty over the Golan Heights, which is of critical strategic and security importance to the State of Israel and Regional Stability!" Trump posted, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo prepared to deliver a joint address from Jerusalem with Netanyahu.
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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 21, 2019
Netanyahu also took to the president's favorite social media outlet to thank him for his decision to "boldly recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights."
At a time when Iran seeks to use Syria as a platform to destroy Israel, President Trump boldly recognizes Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Thank you President Trump! @realDonaldTrump— Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) March 21, 2019
Netanyahu said last week that the Golan was a buffer to keep Israel's enemies at bay, in particular Iran.
“You could imagine what would have happened if Israel were not in the Golan,” he said during a meeting with Pompeo in Jerusalem. “You would have Iran on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.”
While Pompeo avoided the issue of sovereignty over the Golan during his visit to Israel, he lauded the White House’s warm ties with the Jewish state and promised to step up pressure on Iran, giving a public boost to Netanyahu at the height of a tight re-election campaign.
A change in the US view of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which it captured from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War, along with the West Bank from Jordan and the Gaza Strip from Egypt, was also hinted at earlier this month when the State Department changed its usual description of the plateau from "Israeli-occupied" to "Israeli-controlled" in an annual global human rights report.
A separate section of the report on the West Bank and Gaza Strip also did not refer to those territories as being "occupied" or under "occupation."
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham also vowed recently to push for the US to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
The South Carolina politican made his pledge during a tour of the frontier with Netanyahu and US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman earlier this month.
“The Golan is not disputed. It is in the hands of Israel and will always remain in the hands of Israel,” Graham said from a cliff overlooking Syria, where Syrian flags could be seen fluttering in the distance on buildings damaged in the country’s civil war.