State Department Still Says Golan Heights Belongs to Syria

Update: State says policies are being updated consistent with Trump's declaration

Israeli army Merkava tanks take part in a military drill in the Golan Heights

Israeli army Merkava tanks take part in a military drill in the Golan Heights / Getty Images


The State Department’s official foreign policy manual continues to list the Golan Heights area as being owned by Syria as recently as Tuesday, despite President Donald Trump’s recent declaration affirming Israel’s right to the territory, which sits along its northern border and has been the source of multiple terrorist attacks.

Official U.S. policy, according to the manual, states that the government "recognizes the Golan Heights is Syrian territory," according to a portion of that rule tweeted on Tuesday by Associated Press diplomatic correspondent Matthew Lee.

Lee also noted the map used by the State Department's Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs "also still refers to the #GolanHeights as "Israeli occupied."

Contacted about the discrepancy, a spokesman told the Washington Free Beacon, "These and other policies are being updated consistent with the President’s decision to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights."

The discrepancy highlights internal disagreement over Trump’s decision to recognize the Golan Heights as belonging to Israel, a move that roiled Arab leaders and the embattled Syrian government. Israel has long claimed the territory as its own, and the U.S. followed suit in recent weeks with a formal declaration.

The decision did not win support among all Trump administration officials, particularly in the State Department, which has long pushed against efforts to not only recognize the Golan Heights as Israeli, but also the city of Jerusalem, which long was the source of international dispute until Trump relocated the American embassy to the holy city.

UPDATE: 4:37 P.M.: This article was updated with remarks from the State Department.

Adam Kredo   Email Adam | Full Bio | RSS
Adam Kredo is senior writer reporting on national security and foreign policy matters for the Washington Free Beacon. An award-winning political reporter who has broken news from across the globe, Kredo’s work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard, Commentary Magazine, the Drudge Report, and the Jerusalem Post, among many others. His Twitter handle is @Kredo0. His email address is

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