The golan heights

Israel seized the Golan Heights during the 1967 War
US President Donald Trump has said that the time has come for the United States to "fully recognize" Israel's sovereignty over the disputed Golan Heights, seized from Syria during the Six-Day War in 1967.

In a tweet on Thursday, Trump said the Golan Heights are "of critical strategic and security importance to the State of Israel" and to "regional security." His decision will be seen as a diplomatic coup for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The move comes after the US State Department dropped the word "occupied" in relation to the Golan Heights in its annual human rights report for 2018 last week. Responding on Twitter, Netanyahu thanked Trump for "boldly recognizing" Israel's sovereignty over the land.

Netanyahu had previously urged top US officials to make the declaration and he is expected to meet with Trump at the White House in the coming days.

The Golan Heights were seized in 1967, but officially annexed the territory in a 1981 law. Syria, on the other hand, has sought to regain its sovereignty over the region.

The strategically important land is recognized as part of Syria by the United Nations and UN resolutions have called for Israel to withdraw from the areas, as well as other occupied territories, including Gaza and the West Bank.

Trump has consistently backed Israel when it comes to major regional disputes and last years sparked controversy and outrage among Palestinians when he moved the US embassy in Israel from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem and said the US officially recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital.