Netanyahu wants to thank Trump by naming new Golan Heights community after him

"All Israelis were deeply moved," the prime minister said, by Trump's decision to recognize Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
Image: The town of Majdal Shams in the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights on March 26, 2019.
The town of Majdal Shams in the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights on March 26, 2019.Louai Beshara / AFP - Getty Images

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By Corky Siemaszko

The Trump name could soon find itself gracing a new planned community in a hotly contested location — the Golan Heights.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced via video Tuesday that he intends to introduce a resolution to have a new Jewish community named after President Donald Trump in gratitude for his decision to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the area.

“I’m here on the beautiful Golan Heights,” Netanyahu said, arm around his wife. “All Israelis were deeply moved when President Trump made his historic decision to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights. 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 J. Trump.”

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NBC News has reached out to the White House for comment on Netanyahu’s declaration.

Last month, Trump broke with years of precedent and signaled a major shift in U.S. policy when he said it was time to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the strategic territory that the Jewish state captured from Syria in 1967.

"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!" Trump tweeted.

President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu walk through a colonnade at the White House on March 25, 2019.Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Minutes later, Netanyahu tweeted his appreciation. "At a time when Iran seeks to use Syria as a platform to destroy Israel, President Trump boldly recognizes Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Thank you President Trump!"

At the time, Netanyahu was in the midst of a heated re-election battle, which ended in victory for the longtime Israeli leader.

Israel's neighbors immediately condemned Trump's abrupt declaration. The Syrian government called it "irresponsible" and a threat to international peace and stability, while Iran's foreign ministry warned it would plunge the region into a new crisis.

The Golan Heights is a 700-square-mile area overlooking the Jordan Rift Valley that is home to about 47,000 people, the majority of whom are Druze and Syrians — not Israelis.

Israel annexed it in 1981, but most of the international community does not recognize Israeli sovereignty over the area.