The United States’ decision to recognize the Golan Heights as Israeli territory was well coordinated in advance, and the State Department was ready for the announcement, the department’s Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino told reporters on Thursday.
When asked about inter-agency coordination on the president’s announcement and whether the State Department was prepared for the announcement, Palladino said that “Well-coordinated, and yes, we were prepared”.
US President Donald Trump first announced in a Twitter post last Thursday that the US would recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which has been occupied since 1967.
On Monday, Trump signed a proclamation formally recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights after meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House.
The US move, which is widely regarded as beneficial not only for Israel, but personally for Netanyahu, who is running in the 9 April parliamentary elections, has been condemned by Russia, Syria, Iran, Turkey and other countries. US major allies, such as France, Germany and the United Kingdom, have similarly refused to back the US U-turn on the Golan, as the decision violates UN Security Council resolutions.
The Golan Heights has been mostly under Israel’s control since the country seized the territory during the 1967 Six Day War. While Israel adopted a law to annex the territory in 1981, the United Nations declared the move void, without any legal effects. In 2018, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution urging Israel to immediately withdraw its forces from the territory after the country organized local elections in the area on 30 October.