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Greenblatt: Golan Heights vital to Israel’s security, recognition not linked to Israeli elections

U.S. special envoy for international negotiations Jason Greenblatt said it is “cynical” to label U.S. recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights as a move to boost Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s re-election chances before the April 9 elections.

U.S. special envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt attends a press conference regarding the water agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.
U.S. special envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt attends a press conference regarding the water agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.

U.S. special envoy for international negotiations Jason Greenblatt said on Thursday it is “cynical” to label this week’s U.S. recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights as a move to boost Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s re-election chances just weeks before Israelis go to the polls on April 9.

“That’s a cynical response,” Greenblatt told JNS. “This is necessary for the safety of Israel. We see more and more security risks coming from the north. People will define it the way they want to define it, but what I think President Trump did was absolutely the right decision.”

On Monday, the president signed a proclamation to make what he tweeted last week become official.

“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!” he posted on Twitter.

Greenblatt reiterated to JNS on Thursday that the move was “a necessary announcement,” and “historic and bold,” similar to the United States officially recognizing Jerusalem in December 2017 as Israel’s capital, followed by the relocation of the U.S. embassy there from Tel Aviv in May 2018.

Greenblatt, who spoke at the World Values Network’s International Gala, said that “Trump has been clear about Israel’s absolute right to defend itself in the face of terror and aggression, including most recently the attacks from Gaza.”

“That is why Trump has recognized Jerusalem and moved our embassy there and just this week signed a proclamation recognizing the Golan Heights.”

He also discussed the widely anticipated Mideast peace plan that is expected to be released after the elections. Greenblatt said that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is “one of the most complex and difficult conflicts in human history.”

“Many well meaning and talented teams had attempted to mediate. We studied why these attempts had not succeeded,” he said. “Peace can only be built on truth.”

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