After the United States' recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the transfer of the US Embassy to it, Israel is pressing Washington to recognize the occupied Syrian Golan Heights as part of Israeli territories, Intelligence Minister Israel Katz said on Thursday.
In remarks to Israeli media, he said that Israel was making great efforts and was exerting friendly pressure on the administration of US President Donald Trump to recognize its sovereignty on the Golan Heights.
The Israeli minister predicted that these efforts would bear fruit with the approval of the US within months.
The Golan Heights is a strategic area in Syria, occupied since the June 1967 war. It extends over 1,200 square kilometers, giving the occupation the ability to explore large areas of Syria, Jordan and Lebanon.
The Syrian army was able to liberate it completely in the early days of the 1973 war, but withdrew from it in the last days of the war. Based on the Disengagement Agreement in 1974, Israel withdrew from part of it. In 1981, Israel enacted a law in the Knesset to annex it to Israeli sovereignty, in a move not recognized internationally.
Katz stressed that the new move was a natural extension of the US withdrawal from the international nuclear agreement with Iran, Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the opening of a new US embassy in the occupied city this month.
He noted that the Israeli presence in the Golan Heights was a security necessity for Israel and its allies, an important monitoring station for the West over the domestic and international activity in Syria and a lever for Western interests in the region.