Bolton to Netanyahu: We have the best US-Israel relations in history

Bolton to Netanyahu: We have the best US-Israel relations in history
While Washington boasts about an unprecedented strength of relations with Tel Aviv, Israel is reportedly seeking to seize the moment to secure recognition for its sovereignty over the occupied Syrian Golan Heights.

"We now have the best US-Israeli relationship in our history," US National Security Advisor John Bolton said during a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He also said that Washington is "determined" to keep it that way because the two nations need a "strong bond" and "strong leadership" in increasingly tumultuous times for security.

Washington will do its best to provide security for Israel and its other "friends in the region," Bolton told Netanyahu. "I would just say to any nation whether in this region or not in this region that has any doubt about America's support for Israel's self-defense: You'd better think about it again," he said.

The US has recently gone to extraordinary lengths to assure Tel Aviv of its continuous support. Less than a week ago, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reaffirmed to Netanyahu that the US would stand by Israel's side and that its commitment to the "protection" of the Jewish state remains unchanged despite its planned withdrawal from neighboring Syria.

Notably, the first bill to be rolled out by the US Senate in 2019 is aimed at protecting Israel from boycotts. Meanwhile, Tel Aviv apparently sees the present situation as a good moment to further its interests and solidify its grip over the Golan Heights, which it seized from Syria back in 1967.

"The Golan Heights are tremendously important for our security," Netanyahu said during the press conference, adding that Israel "will never leave" the area. He then went even further and said "it is important that all countries recognize Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights," adding that he had already discussed the matter with Trump.

Some media reports suggested that the Israeli prime minister has asked the US president to recognize its sovereignty over the Golan Heights on a number of occasions. However, Washington seems to be reluctant to address this issue as of yet.

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While the Golan Heights have been internationally seen as occupied ever since Israel seized the territory, it is not unrealistic to expect recognition from the current US administration. In November 2018, the US rejected a symbolic UN resolution calling on Israel to end its occupation of the Golan Heights.

Even though the resolution passed with 151 votes in favor, 14 abstentions and only two votes against – the US and Israel itself – the move still was met with thunderous applause in Tel Aviv. "Israel will remain forever on the Golan Heights, and the Golan Heights will forever remain in our hands," Netanyahu said at that time.

In December 2018, Republican Senators Ted Cruz and Tom Cotton introduced a draft resolution to the Senate, which encouraged the US to officially recognize the status quo in the area. "Israel gained possession over the Golan Heights in a defensive war over 50 years ago, and has responsibly controlled the area ever since. It's past time for the United States to recognize reality by affirming Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights," the text of the resolution said.

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The Trump administration is no stranger to controversy when it comes to Israel. In one of its most contentious moves, Washington recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and relocated the US embassy from Tel Aviv to the holy city, provoking a wave of indignation, particularly in the Middle East.

Months after the move, US Ambassador David Friedman actually hinted that Washington might recognize Israel's claims over the Golans as well.

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