Trump: I made Golan Heights decision after quick history lesson
LAS VEGAS US President Donald Trump said on Saturday he made the controversial decision to recognise Israel's 1981 annexation of the Golan Heights after getting a quick history lesson during a conversation on a different subject.
Speaking at the Republican Jewish Coalition gathering in Las Vegas, Mr Trump said he made the snap decision during a discussion with his top Middle East peace advisers, including the US ambassador to Israel, Mr David Friedman, and his own son-in-law, Mr Jared Kushner.
"I said, 'Fellows, do me a favour. Give me a little history, quick. Want to go fast. I got a lot of things I'm working on: China, North Korea. Give me a quickie," Mr Trump said to laughter from the Las Vegas crowd.
"How do you like the idea of me recognising exactly what we're discussing?" he said, recounting the conversation.
Mr Trump, who typically demands short sharp briefings and is known for his colourful retelling of stories, said Mr Friedman was shocked, "like a wonderful, beautiful baby," and asked the President if he would actually do it.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited President Trump last month.
At their March 25 meeting, Mr Trump signed a proclamation officially granting US recognition of the Golan as Israeli territory, a dramatic departure from decades of US policy.
The move, which Mr Trump announced in a tweet days prior, was widely seen as an attempt to boost Mr Netanyahu, who is up for re-election on April 9.
"I went - 'BING!' - it was done," Mr Trump said on Saturday, describing the swiftness of his decision. "We make fast decisions. And we make good decisions."
Mr Netanyahu pledged on Saturday to annex settlements in the occupied West Bank if he wins the upcoming general election.
His comments come just days before the closely-fought April 9 poll and could be seen as an appeal to right wing voters, who do not believe in the feasibility of a peace agreement with the Palestinians.- REUTERS, AFP
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