Story by Risa Peris
On June 16, Benjamin Netanyahu dedicated a new settlement in Golan Heights called Trump Heights. According to several international interviews, Netanyahu said it was an “act of Zionism” and it honored “our very great friend of the state of Israel”. Netanyahu joked about whether to call the new settlement “Trump Tower”.
The Golan Heights is a controversial area. It belonged to Syria and was taken over by Israel during the 1967 Six Day War. It has been politically administered by Israel since 1981. It covers about 690 square miles. A small part of it remains administered by Syria and they gained more control over the Golan Heights in 2018. In 2019, Trump declared the Golan Heights as belonging to Israel. Most of the international community believes that the Golan Heights is Syrian territory occupied by Israel. Trump is the first leader to contradict this.
Since Israel has occupied the Golan Heights, they have demolished countless Syrian villages and farmland and then handed the land to Israeli settlers. The international community considers the construction of more settlements in the area to be in violation of international law. The international community cites Article 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention of 1949. This article states, “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.”
Trump seems delighted to have an illegal settlement named after him. He tweeted recently:
This is another instance in which Trump defies international law and agreements. But we shouldn’t be surprised since Trump declared, in 2018, that Jerusalem was the true capital of Israel and that the USA would be moving its Embassy there at a great cost to the US taxpayer. Trump’s declaration sparked violence and riots. Several people lost their lives due to the declaration. It is unclear yet what havoc Trump Heights might wreck in a severely sensitive area. Trump seems ignorant of the word “prudence” in international relations.