Trump recognizes Israel’s claims to occupied Golan

             By Michael Hernandez</p>  <p>WASHINGTON (AA) - U.S. President Donald Trump officially recognized Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Syrian Golan Heights on Monday.</p>  <p>Trump signed a presidential proclamation sealing the move while meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House, saying the contested territory is &quot;a potential launching ground for attacks against Israel.&quot; </p>  <p>&quot;Any possible future peace agreement must account for Israel's need to defend itself from Syria, Iran and other regional threats,&quot; he said.</p>  <p>Momentum has been building in Washington for the U.S. to recognize Israel's claim to the Syrian territory, and the State Department earlier this month prompted questions about the matter when it changed its terminology for the first time on the Golan Heights, referring to it as &quot;Israeli-controlled&quot; instead of its former designation of &quot;Israeli-occupied.&quot;</p>  <p>Israel has long lobbied the U.S. to recognize its claim over the Golan, but all past administration refused to heed the calls.</p>  <p>Netanyahu profusely thanked Trump for signing the proclamation, calling it a &quot;historic day&quot; that caps Israel's victories in the 1967 Six Day and 1973 Yom Kippur wars. </p>  <p>“While Israel won those two wars, we would have to wait nearly half a century until this moment here in this room to translate our military victory into a diplomatic victory,” Netanyahu said.