Congress Directs Trump Admin to Alter Federal Info to Recognize Israeli Control of Golan Heights

New order will change maps, federal docs, agency info to reflect recognition

Golan Heights
Golan Heights / Getty Images
• April 17, 2019 5:15 pm


Congress has instructed the Trump administration to alter all federal documents, communications, and maps to reflect its recent recognition of Israeli control over the Golan Heights region on the Jewish state's northern border, according to a letter obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

The formal request comes just a day after the State Department raised questions about the policy's enactment due to its failure to change official manuals that still list the Golan Heights as Syrian territory.

A delegation of leading Republican senators who helped spearhead the Golan recognition petitioned the White House on Wednesday to move forward with the alteration of all federal information to reflect the new policy.

The senators thank President Donald Trump for enacting the new policy, writing that the recognition will help ensure that Iranian-backed terror groups operating in the Golan and other northern areas will not be able to use the territory as a launchpad for attacks on Israel.

"With threats from Iran, the Assad regime, and their terrorist proxies building to Israel's north, it is imperative that the United States do everything in its power to ensure Israel's security," write the delegation of 10 senators, including Sens. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.), Ted Cruz (R., Texas), and Marco Rubio (R., Fla.), among others.

"We applaud your leadership in taking this long-overdue step in support of our ally," the letter states. "We now urge you to take the following steps to implement your historic decision."

The will include directing "all federal government agencies to update their official documents, publications, and maps to recognize the Golan Heights as the State of Israel's sovereign territory."

The State Department will now "treat the Golan Heights as the State of Israel's sovereign territory for the purpose of issuing passports to Americans born in the Golan Heights and all treaties and agreements."

This order is generating controversy in light of a recent Supreme Court case that focused on the State Department's refusal to let Americans born in Jerusalem list "Israel" as the location of their birth. The case played a key role in generating support for Trump to take the step of moving the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the Jewish state's capital city.

Additionally, the State Department will "pursue talks with the Israeli government about updating the 1972 U.S.-Israel Binational Science Foundation agreement and the related 1977 agreements covering industrial and agricultural research," according to the letter. "These agreements bar funding of projects in or relating to ‘geographic areas which came under the administration of the Government of Israel after June 5, 1967."

This agreement is now "in conflict with your proclamation," the senators write, urging the State Department to immediately alter the policy.

The U.S. government will also direct "all federal government agencies responsible for foreign commerce and customs enforcement to allow products from the Golan Heights to be labeled ‘Made in Israel.'"

This label had remained controversial due to the contested nature of the Golan Heights territory. However, the senators maintain this is no longer necessary as a result of the White House's declaration recognizing Israel's control of the territory.

"If there are any statutory roadblocks to the swift implementation of this policy across the federal government, we kindly request that you share these obstacles with Congress," the letter states. "We appreciate your attention to this matter, and look forward to working with your administration to implement this policy."

Published under: Golan Heights, Israel