President Trump extended his appreciation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for a “great honor” this weekend.
The reason for the gratitude was the unveiling of a new community in the Golan Heights named after the U.S. president, following a promise made by Netanyahu in April.
(Video: YouTube/Israeli PM)
“All Israelis were deeply moved when President Trump made his historic decision to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights,” Netanyahu said in a statement in April, revealing the resolution which came to fruition on Sunday with the unveiling of a sign for the “Ramat Trump,” or “Trump Heights” community.
US Ambassador David Friedman joined Netanyahu on Sunday in a ceremony laying the cornerstone for the town as the sign, decorated with the Israeli and U.S. flags, was revealed. The prime minister called it a “historic day” on Twitter.
— Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) June 16, 2019
Netanyahu and his Cabinet had come together to formally approve the resolution for an “initiative to establish” the new community, though the settlement has not been officially declared and “no money has yet been earmarked for construction,” according to the BBC.
“We are proud that we have the opportunity to establish a new settlement and to give thanks to a great friend,” Netanyahu said at the site. “We will continue to grow and develop the Golan for all of our citizens — Jews and non-Jews together.”
Trump thanked Netanyahu in a tweet on Sunday.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 16, 2019
“President Trump did it [with the Golan], he also did it with Jerusalem, he did it with the transfer of the embassy, he did it with the exit from the Iran nuclear deal, he does it now with the strong stand against the aggression of Iran in the Gulf of Oman, in the Persian Gulf, and in the entire region,” Netanyahu said Sunday.
Friedman told those gathered that the move was a “beautiful” present to Trump who celebrated his birthday just days before.
(Video: YouTube/U.S. Embassy Jerusalem)
“I want to thank you for holding the cabinet meeting and for the extraordinary gesture that you and the State of Israel are making to the President of the United States,” Friedman said, according to CNN. “It’s well-deserved, but it’s much appreciated.”
In March, the president broke from the position of other world leaders to recognize Israel’s right to the Golan Heights, which the nation captured from Syria in the 1967 war, becoming the first nation to acknowledge Israel’s sovereignty over the area it annexed it in 1981.
President Trump’s Proclamation today recognizes Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which is crucial to the stability of the entire Middle East. pic.twitter.com/DawWZtPCgf
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) March 25, 2019
The area is located about 40 miles south-west of the Syrian capital of Damascus and covers about 400 sq miles, according to the BBC.
The Guardian reports:
Plans have begun to extend the hamlet of Bruchim, first established in 1991 but almost forgotten until now. Haim Rokach, head of the Israeli Golan regional council, hopes that it will eventually comprise 400 houses, with construction of a first phase of 100 homes set to begin later this year.
“The prime minister’s decision to build a new place in the Golan Heights is a revolution. We were thirsty for that,” said the mayor.
A range of name suggestions were submitted to a government committee for approval. Other possibilities had included Neve Trump (Trump’s Oasis) and Ruakh Trump (Trump’s Soul).
“I think it will mean something for him, that there is a place in the world, far away from the States, with his name,” Naomi Ish Shalom, a local organic farmer, told the Guardian about Trump. “What we dream for, is for it to become a special place.”