Seeking an electoral boost from Donald Trump amid expectations the US president will formally recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu landed in Washington on Sunday.
Trump broke longstanding international consensus last week over the status of the Golan Heights, which Israel seized from Syria in the 1967 Six Day War, saying Washington should recognize Israeli sovereignty over the strategically important plateau.
Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz tweeted, “President Trump will sign tomorrow in the presence of PM Netanyahu an order recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.”
Netanyahu has long campaigned for sovereignty recognition, and many analysts saw Trump’s statement, which came in a tweet on Thursday, as a campaign gift ahead of Israel’s April 9 elections.
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
He received another gift on Sunday when Romania’s Prime Minister Viorica Dancila said her government would move its embassy to Jerusalem, breaking with the European position and apparently with her own president as well.
Netanyahu is locked in a difficult election battle with a centrist political alliance led by former military chief Benny Gantz and ex-finance minister Yair Lapid.
New opinion polls last week showed Netanyahu losing ground to his electoral rivals, and the Washington visit was seen as an opportunity to regain momentum.
The prime minister has a “working meeting” at the White House on Monday and a dinner on Tuesday.
– with reporting by Agence France-Presse