A senior adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is urging him to take advantage of an upcoming meeting with President-elect Donald Trump to seek formal recognition of Israel’s sovereignty in the Golan Heights.

“It’s very important for the U.S. to back a formal recognition of Israel’s control of the Golan,” Michael Oren, a deputy minister for diplomacy at the prime minister’s office, said in an interview in Jerusalem. “If it weren’t for Israel’s presence, the Syria war would be spilling over to Jordan. So Israel’s presence in the Golan is indispensable for Mideast stability.”

The prime minister told journalists Tuesday he’s planning to visit Trump soon. The Foreign Ministry already is analyzing possible repercussions if the U.S. recognizes Israeli sovereignty in the Golan, according to a ministry official who requested anonymity because the issue is sensitive.

Oren, a former ambassador to the U.S. and now a legislator from the Kulanu party, said he has advised the prime minister to raise the issue with Trump but doesn’t know exactly what will be discussed. Netanyahu’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

After years during which Syria shelled Israeli communities below the plateau, Israel captured the southern part of the Golan in the 1967 Mideast war and extended its law to the area in 1981, a move that was not recognized internationally. The future of the plateau, a scenic area containing important water sources, has been considered a subject for negotiation in any potential peace agreement with Syria. Now, with Syria wracked by a civil war, Israel wants its control over the area to be recognized worldwide.


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