Skip to main content

State Department says no change in US recognition of Israel's claim to Golan Heights

The Washington Free Beacon reported that the Biden administration would be “walking back” President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize the Golan Heights as Israeli.
Trump Heights Golan Heights

The US State Department on Friday dismissed a report suggesting the Joe Biden administration would be reversing the prior administration’s recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. 

“US policy regarding the Golan has not changed, and reports to the contrary are false,” read a tweet from the Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs. 

Israel captured most of the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 war, and in 1981, annexed the mountainous plateau in a move Israel defends as necessary for its security. 

In 2019 Trump broke with decades of US policy by signing a proclamation officially recognizing the Golan Heights as Israeli. The declaration made the United States the first country, after Israel, to recognize Israel’s claim over the contested territory.  

On Thursday, the right-leaning Washington Free Beacon reported that the administration would be “walking back” Trump’s decision. The US news outlet quoted an unnamed State Department official who said, “As a practical matter, the control of the Golan remains of real importance to Israel's security.” However, this is almost the same exact quote that Secretary of State Antony Blinken gave CNN in February, begging the question of what the Beacon saw as a change of policy. 

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said the Free Beacon’s report, which was picked by a number of Israeli outlets, aimed to undermine the new Israeli government. 

“The Golan Heights is a strategic asset and an integral part of the sovereign State of Israel. The United States recognized our sovereignty over the Golan Heights and its strategic importance to Israel’s security,” Lapid said.

“Anyone spreading rumors about the rescinding of this recognition harms [our] security, harms the [US] declaration of sovereignty and is willing (not for the first time) to cause real damage to the State of Israel and its relations with the United States — all for the sake of harming the new government,” he said in a statement. 

During the CNN interview, Blinken said the administration could “look at” the Trump administration's decision if the security situation in Syria were to change, but added, “We are nowhere near that.”

The Golan Heights recognition was among a number of Trump administration moves seen as favoring Israel in its decadeslong conflict with the Palestinians. In a decision widely condemned by US allies, Trump formally recognized Israel’s capital as Jerusalem in 2017, and months later, moved the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. His administration also ended restrictions on using US taxpayer funding for scientific research projects conducted in Israeli settlements and announced that American citizens born in Jerusalem could begin listing “Israel” as their place of birth on their passports. 

Join hundreds of Middle East professionals with Al-Monitor PRO.

Business and policy professionals use PRO to monitor the regional economy and improve their reports, memos and presentations. Try it for free and cancel anytime.

Already a Member? Sign in


The Middle East's Best Newsletters

Join over 50,000 readers who access our journalists dedicated newsletters, covering the top political, security, business and tech issues across the region each week.
Delivered straight to your inbox.


What's included:
Our Expertise

Free newsletters available:

  • The Takeaway & Week in Review
  • Middle East Minute (AM)
  • Daily Briefing (PM)
  • Business & Tech Briefing
  • Security Briefing
  • Gulf Briefing
  • Israel Briefing
  • Palestine Briefing
  • Turkey Briefing
  • Iraq Briefing

Premium Membership

Join the Middle East's most notable experts for premium memos, trend reports, live video Q&A, and intimate in-person events, each detailing exclusive insights on business and geopolitical trends shaping the region.

$25.00 / month
billed annually

Become Member Start with 1-week free trial
What's included:
Our Expertise AI-driven

Memos - premium analytical writing: actionable insights on markets and geopolitics.

Live Video Q&A - Hear from our top journalists and regional experts.

Special Events - Intimate in-person events with business & political VIPs.

Trend Reports - Deep dive analysis on market updates.

Text Alerts - Be the first to get breaking news, exclusives, and PRO content.

All premium Industry Newsletters - Monitor the Middle East's most important industries. Prioritize your target industries for weekly review:

  • Capital Markets & Private Equity
  • Venture Capital & Startups
  • Green Energy
  • Supply Chain
  • Sustainable Development
  • Leading Edge Technology
  • Oil & Gas
  • Real Estate & Construction
  • Banking

We also offer team plans. Please send an email to and we'll onboard your team.

Already a Member? Sign in

Start your PRO membership today.

Join the Middle East's top business and policy professionals to access exclusive PRO insights today.

Join Al-Monitor PRO Start with 1-week free trial