“The Golan will be liberated and Trump’s name will be obliterated.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday declared he would build a town in the Golan Heights and name it after President Donald Trump, triggering outrage from critics of the Jewish state.
In English- and Hebrew- language videos posted to Twitter, Netanyahu said the move would reflect Israelis’ gratitude for Trump’s recent recognition of the territory as part of their country. Overlooking the lush landscape, which Israel captured from Syrian in war, Netanyahu promised to act next week.
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“All Israelis were deeply moved when President Trump made his historic decision to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights,” he said. “Therefore, after the Passover holiday, I intend to bring to the government a resolution calling for a new community on the Golan Heights named after President Donald Trump.”
Trump last month acknowledged Israeli control of the Golan Heights by presidential proclamation, making the United States the first country to do so.
Netanyahu touted the achievement, and his close relationship with Trump, in his victorious campaign to be reelected earlier this month. After attending the Golan signing ceremony at the White House, he suggested the move had set a precedent for Israel to annex the West Bank, which he later pledged to do.
“There is a very important principle in international life,” he said. “When you start wars of aggression, you lose territory, do not come and claim it afterwards. It belongs to us.”
The State Department later pushed back on his interpretation.
In an increasingly familiar divide, Israel supporters and conservatives on Tuesday generally joined Israelis in cheering Netanyahu’s reciprocal gesture. However, leftists and Arab supporters of Syria were outraged.
Left-wing and pro-Palestinian activist Ejike decried Netanyahu’s tweet as “absolutely disgusting” and bemoaned the state of the world.
absolutely disgusting. what a world we live in
Netanyahu says he will name Golan Heights town after Trump https://t.co/Uqz0t9dxy6
— architect ? (@TheNewThinkerr) April 24, 2019
Rice University sociologist Craig Considine speculated that Trump had only proclaimed U.S. support for Israel’s control of the Golan Heights last month in exchange for the ego boost. “Shameful either way,” he commented.
Netanyahu: “Hi Don, can we [**illegally**] annex the Golan Heights?”
Netanyahu: “What if we named a [**illegal**] village after you?”
Trump: “Deal. Go for it.”
I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s how it all went down.
Shameful, either way.pic.twitter.com/tlFZzZswAK
— Dr. Craig Considine (@CraigCons) April 23, 2019
Sarah Abdallah – an influential Twitter booster of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad as he has massacred his people – accused Trump of supporting Netanyahu’s theft of Arab land.
Translation: How land thief Netanyahu says thank you to land thief Trump for approving of Israel stealing #Syria’s Golan Heights and recognizing its faux sovereignty over land that doesn’t belong to it, all in flagrant violation of international law. https://t.co/M87JS5Xl46
— Sarah Abdallah (@sahouraxo) April 23, 2019
Ahmad Al-Issa, a pro-Assad English professor in the United Arab Emirates, warned: “The Golan will be liberated and Trump’s name will be obliterated.” He added the hashtag “#SyriaNow.”
#Syria: #Trump gives what is not his, the #Golan_Heights to #Israel and #Netanyahu wants to name what is not his, a village in the Golan, after Trump.
The Golan will be liberated and Trump's name will be obliterated.#SyriaNow
— Ahmad Al-Issa (@ahmadalissa) April 23, 2019
Other Twitter users bemoaned the Trump-Netanyahu alliance, which last year saw the United States recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move its embassy to the contested city. Some looked ahead with dread to the planned June rollout of the Trump administration’s Israel-Palestinian peace plan.
Israel conquered the Golan Heights and the West Bank, along with eastern Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, in the 1967 Six-Day War. The lightning victory humiliated Israel’s defeated Arab neighbors, who had been saber-rattling about destroying the Jewish state.
Ever since, the world has deemed the territories to be occupied and Israeli settlement in them to be illegal. Jerusalem disagrees, and with Syria riven by bloody civil war, the public has been grateful for the security barrier offered by the Golan Heights. Few expect the state to renew efforts to exchange the land for peace any time soon.
A Golan settlement is not the first Israeli institution to be assigned Trump’s name. Other examples include a traffic circle, a train station, and a soccer team in Jerusalem, and a city park in the north.