In what critics denounced as an obscene celebration of land theft and a violation of international law, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday showed his appreciation for U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to recognize the occupied Golan Heights as Israeli territory by unveiling a new illegal settlement named "Trump Heights."
As Common Dreams reported, Trump's recognition of the occupied Syrian territory as Israeli property in March was widely condemned by international observers.
"This is a historic day," Netanyahu said after dramatically uncovering the "Trump Heights" entry sign, emblazoned with large gold letters.
Israel just unveiled "Trump Heights" — a community named after President Trump that sits on a contested frontier with Syria pic.twitter.com/vMhryzMEFF— CBS News (@CBSNews) June 16, 2019
As Haaretz reported, no new community was actually established in the occupied Syrian territory on Sunday, as the move must be approved and finalized by the government.
"There isn't really any settlement there yet, just a sign, just as there isn't any reality to Trump more generally, just an empty suit," historian and Middle East expert Juan Cole wrote in a blog post on Monday.
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"Given that Trump is a narcissistic fraud, it is appropriate that his name be attached to the illegal Israeli theft of Syrian territory. In fact, we should just call the Occupied Palestinian Territories in general Trumpland, a fraud and form of robbery like his 'university' and 'steaks' and 'airline,'" Cole wrote. "Trump Heights is such a great name for the colony built on theft, since Trump's whole life has been about being wealthy and powerful enough to escape the consequences of his crimes."
Others expressed similar disgust at Netanyahu's announcement, which was quickly hailed by Trump as a "great honor."
Two bigoted, serial abusers of civil and human rights. Completely gross. https://t.co/CyfiEDmv7b— Shaun King (@shaunking) June 16, 2019
For a second I thought this was just a new Trump golf course. Then I realized it’s just a new Trump illegal Israeli settlement pic.twitter.com/Rs28M6oJSV— Elon Glickman (@elonTglickman) June 16, 2019
"Blatant theft: with no legal jurisdiction whatsoever and in flagrant violation of international law, Israel re-names part of Syria after Trump," tweeted activist Sarah Wilkinson.