US senators urge issuing passports recognizing Golan Heights as Israel

Now that the U.S. officially recognizes the Golan Heights as part of Israel, 10 Republican senators are urging the administration to issue passports to citizens born there, with Israel listed as the birthplace.

By World Israel News Staff

Last month, standing alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House, U.S President Donald Trump signed a proclamation recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

The president said it was time for the U.S. to take the step after 52 years of Israeli control of the strategic highlands on the border with Syria.

As a result, CNS News reported, the updated State Department manual states that “U.S. policy recognizes the Golan Heights as part of Israel. The Place of Birth for applicants born in the Golan Heights is Israel.”

Indeed, on Tuesday, the Trump administration’s special envoy for Middle East negotiations, Jason Greenblatt, released an updated map of Israel that now includes the Golan Heights.

In the wake of this development, a group of 10 Republican senators sent a letter to President Trump on Wednesday, “urging the administration to take necessary steps to fully implement the proclamation, such as directing the State Department to treat the Golan Heights as the State of Israel’s sovereign territory to issue passports to Americans born there,” The Jerusalem Post reported.

“The United States now recognizes the Golan Heights as sovereign Israeli soil,” said Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) in a statement, the Post added. “Our official documents, maps, regulations, and international agreements ought to reflect that historic fact. We stand ready to help the president implement his decision, which strengthens Israel’s capacity for self-defense against enemies like Iran and the terrorist forces who want to destroy it.”

“Deepening Israel’s sovereignty and control over the Golan Heights is in America’s national security interest,” added Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), according to the Post. “The president should be applauded for his decision to recognize the reality of that sovereignty, which he did over the objections of some in his administration who incorrectly predicted that it would cause unrest in the Middle East.

“Now it is imperative that all federal agencies implement the president’s decision, including by aligning the State Department’s Foreign Affairs Manual to reflect that it is United States policy that the Golan Heights is Israeli territory.”

Policy towards Jerusalem ‘unchanged’

According to the State Department, however, the policy toward the West Bank (Judea and Samaria), Gaza and Jerusalem remains unchanged and recognizes these territories as “territories whose final status must be determined by negotiations.”

A case involving U.S. citizen Menachem Zivotofsky, born in Shaare Zedek hospital in western Jerusalem, has been ongoing since his parents filed a suit against the State Department in 2003 because “Jerusalem,” rather than “Israel,” was listed on his passport as his place of birth. In June 2015, the Supreme Court ruled, 6-3 that the president has exclusive power to decide which country to recognize as sovereign in a given territory.

In the wake of President Donald Trump’s Dec. 6 recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the Lewins expressed hope that the policy would be reversed.