Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has named a new Golan Heights community after Donald Trump to honor his 73rd birthday. The settlement isn’t exactly new. Currently known as Bruchim, it is over 30 years old and has a population of 10 people. Building work has yet to start, but a sign bearing the name Trump Heights (“Ramat Trump,” in Hebrew), and the U.S. and Israeli flags are up. There’s no funding to build a new settlement.
“It’s absolutely beautiful,” said U.S. Ambassador David Friedman, who attended Sunday’s ceremony to celebrate Trump’s birthday.
Prior to the ceremony, Trump sent Netanyahu an autographed map incorporated the Golan Heights as part of Israel and wrote “nice” next to an arrow pointing to the Golan Heights.
Netanyahu called Trump a “great friend” of Israel and described the Golan, which overlooks northern Israel, as an important strategic asset.
Israel seized the Golan from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war. It’s been under dispute ever since. Trump signed an executive order recognizing the area as Israeli territory in March. It didn’t go over well with our allies and Arab nations.
The United Nations and most of the world powers rejected Trump’s decision and continue to consider the Golan Heights occupied Syrian land whose status should be resolved through negotiations.
Zvi Hauser, an Israeli opposition politician who formerly served as Netanyahu’s Cabinet secretary, called Sunday’s ceremony a cheap PR stunt. He said, “There’s no funds, there is no planning, there is no place, and there is really no binding decision.”
I wonder who’s going to pay for “Trump‘s birthday present.” Netanyahu’s efforts to hold on to office? And to avoid losing office, like Trump.