TEL AVIV – The Trump administration should formally recognize the Golan Heights as sovereign Israeli territory, especially in light of the ongoing war in Syria, Transportation and Intelligence Minister Israel Katz said Sunday.
Katz, who made his remarks at the Jerusalem Post Annual Conference in New York, proposed a five-point memorandum between Israel and the U.S. on the Syrian civil war and its impact on the Jewish state’s security.
Apart from recognizing the Golan Heights as an indivisible part of Israel, Katz called for both countries to adopt a policy opposing any permanent Iranian military presence in Syria and Lebanon. In addition, Katz’s proposal would see further sanctions imposed on Iran if it does not stop supporting terror organizations in the area, such as Hezbollah. Hezbollah itself would also be subject to heavy sanctions according to Katz’s plan.
“There will not be stability in the region until Iran is pushed back, and weapons transfers are stopped,” the minister said.
He condemned the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for its recent anti-Israel resolutions and said Jerusalem should respond by expanding its borders.
“We must strengthen our hold in Jerusalem and ensure the Jewish majority there, in the face of all those, including UNESCO, who are trying again and again to question the undeniable historical and religious connection between the Jewish people and Jerusalem,” Katz said.
One way of achieving this would be annexing Jewish towns in the West Bank including Gush Etzion, Givat Zeev, Ma’aleh Adumim and Beitar Elit to become a part of a “greater Jerusalem.”
“A united Jerusalem is and will be the eternal capital of the Jewish people,” he said.
With regards to the peace process with the Palestinians, Katz proposed focusing on civilian economic initiatives. His own Transportation Ministry was working on a railroad project that, according to Katz, would benefit Israelis, Palestinians, Jordanians and countries that want to trade with them.
“Economic development and trade are the strongest path to peace,” he said.