Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday that US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner had gifted him an official State Department map, updated to incorporate the long-disputed Golan Heights as part of Israel.
Speaking at a news conference in Jerusalem on Thursday, Netanyahu addressed a nation rattled by the prospect of an unprecedented second election campaign, after the newly reelected Netanyahu failed to form a governing coalition.
In a bid to play down the political chaos and focus public attention on his foreign policy prowess – in particular his close friendship with Trump – Netanyahu whipped out Kushner’s map, on which President Trump had scribbled, “Nice.”
American officials will attend a ceremony next month with Netanyahu to lay the cornerstone for a new town in the Golan Heights named for Trump, local officials said earlier this week.
Bibi with the map signed by Trump. Check out what Trump wrote next to the Golan Heights pic.twitter.com/ik1Lenn8Zm
— Barak Ravid (@BarakRavid) May 30, 2019
The ceremony on June 12 will dedicate the new community to be built on the site of the existing village of Kela Alon in the northwestern Golan.
Last month Netanyahu said his new government would name a town in the Golan Heights after Trump in honor of the US president’s decision to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the northern territory.
Trump signed a proclamation on March 25 recognizing Israel’s hold on the plateau when Netanyahu visited the White House, in a move seen by some as timed to help the Israeli premier in his reelection bid.
It upended decades of US policy and drew some international condemnation, along with Israeli praise.
Israel captured the strategic plateau from Syria in the 1967 Six Day War and in 1981 effectively annexed the area, in a move never recognized by the rest of international community, which considers the Golan Heights to be occupied Syrian territory.