The US State Department has officially implemented President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize the occupied Golan Heights as Israeli territory, registering people born in the land as “native Israelis”.
All official documents issued by the State Department, including passports, will reflect the administration’s recent decision, reported Israel’s Haaretz daily on Thursday.
Previously, official US documents referred to the Golan Heights with a special designation, indicating the territory’s occupation by Israel.
The policy is still in place for Palestinian territories such as the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem al-Quds.
Trump signed a proclamation recognizing Israel’s “sovereignty” over the Syrian Golan Heights on the direction of a number of his advisers, most notably his son-in-law Jared Kushner, on March 25.
Earlier this week, Trump’s Israel adviser Jason Greenblatt published an image of an official US government map depicting the occupied territory as part of Israel, drawing much negative attention.
The Syrian territory was occupied and later annexed by the Tel Aviv regime after a full-scale war against Arab countries in 1967 in a move that was never recognized by the international community.
Damascus has repeatedly vowed to retake the Israeli-occupied territory by any means possible.
‘Deal of the century’
The announcement on the Golan Heights was the latest in a series of decisions that are widely seen as a strategy to redraw the contours of the Israeli-Arab conflict, described by the Trump administration as “the deal of the century”.
Trump had previously recognized Jerusalem al-Quds as the so-called capital of Israel in December 2017.
Earlier this week, Kushner said that the so-called peace plan would be officially unveiled in June.
The much-hyped plan has drawn criticism from many world leaders, specifically among the Palestinian leadership.
On Wednesday, Palestinian Authority Prime Minster Mohammad Shtayyeh lashed out the initiative, asserting that the plan is “born dead.”
“It’s enough that it excluded Jerusalem from Palestine, we do not want to hear the rest. What kind of solution and cause does President Trump plan to discuss?” said Shtayyeh.
The comments later sparked an exchange between the prime minster and Greenblatt, who accused Shtayyeh of wanting “peace to fail”.
Shtayyeh later addressed Greenblatt’s comments.
“Any Political initiative that does not call for ending Israeli occupation and establishing an independent and sovereign Palestinian state with al-Quds as its capital on the borders of 1967 with settling the refugees cause is not acceptable to the Palestinians,” he said.