BEIRUT, March 22 - The Syrian government condemned on Friday US President Donald Trump's statement that it was time to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights and said Syria was determined to recover the area "through all available means".
Administration officials had previously rebuffed Netanyahu's pressure for recognition of Israel's possession of the strategic border area, pointing out that Trump had already handed the Israeli leader a significant political gift by moving the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Trump on Thursday said the United States should acknowledge Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, seized from Syria in 1967.
Over the phone, Netanyahu told Trump, "You made history", according to the prime minister's office. Trump declared his break with that policy in a tweet.
In a new report, the area was called the 'Israeli-controlled Golan Heights'.
Netanyahu arrives in Washington next week to meet with Trump and address the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, lobbying group.
It did not change "the reality that the Golan was and will remain Syrian, Arab", the source said. Thank you President Trump! "The Arab League stands fully behind the Syrian right to its occupied land", he said in a statement published by Egypt's state news agency MENA.
Israel will see such a development as rivaling the significance of last year's opening of a US embassy in Jerusalem - a unilateral White House action that now has city authorities planning to name a new subway station after the American president. The United Nations has not recognised the annexation.
Last week, the U.S. dropped "Israeli-occupied" designation in its annual human rights report, though the State Department insisted the wording change did not mean a policy change.
The UN Security Council then passed a resolution declaring 'that the Israeli decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights is null and void and without worldwide legal effect'. "The time has come for the world to recognize that the Golan Heights is an inseparable part of the State of Israel".
The U.S. assertion of Israeli claims will give Iran a propaganda boost at a time when the Trump administration is pressing allies in the region to join efforts to roll back Iranian influence.
Several U.S. lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have been calling for the Trump administration to recognize Israeli sovereignty in the Golan Heights. The announcement appears to be a surprise to everyone except Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
"I applaud @realDonaldTrump for taking the long overdue step of recognizing Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights".