A US State Department manual was amended during the Passover festival to authorize US citizens born in the Golan Heights to have “Israel” given as their place of birth, according to CNSNews.com.
Prior to the revision, the manual which instructs all government workers on US policy, had defined the Golan Heights as Syria. “U.S. policy recognizes that the Golan Heights is Syrian territory. The PBO (place of birth) for applicants born in the Golan Heights is Syria,” the official document had previously stated.
The revised instruction manual mentions President Donald Trump’s March 25 declaration that the Golan Heights now belongs to Israel. Government officials are hereby instructed to list Israel as place of birth in a US passport “if and only if the applicant was born in Israel” (meaning Golan Heights).
A group of Republican Senators sent a letter to President Trump during the Passover Week urging him to fully implement the recognition of Israeli ownership of the Golan Heights and to begin treating the territory as part of the Nation of Israel’s sovereign land.
“The United States now recognizes the Golan Heights as sovereign Israeli soil,” said Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas)in a statement. “Our official documents, maps, regulations, and international agreements ought to reflect that historic fact. We stand ready to help the president implement his decision, which strengthens Israel’s capacity for self-defense against enemies like Iran and the terrorist forces who want to destroy it.”
Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) added, “Deepening Israel’s sovereignty and control over the Golan Heights is in America’s national security interest. Now it is imperative that all federal agencies implement the president’s decision, including by aligning the State Department’s Foreign Affairs Manual to reflect that it is United States policy that the Golan Heights is Israeli territory.”
In addition, US government agencies are changing all official maps to include the Golan Heights as part of the Nation of Israel. Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s Special Envoy for Middle East Negotiations tweeted, “Welcome to the newest addition of our international maps system after @POTUS issued a proclamation recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.” The tweet includes a revised map showing the Golan Heights as part of Israel. On previous maps the Golan was defined as “occupied territory” or “disputed territory.”
The State Department has also changed the map of Israel now indicating Jerusalem as the nation’s capital. Previous maps showed no capital of Israel.
Some maps of Syria on the CIA World Factbook website have been changed to reflect the new policy and show the Golan as Israeli territory. However, there are still references to the Golan as “Israeli-occupied.”
Greenblatt acknowledged that the policy changes will take time to be implemented in all government publications and websites. “Following the Golan announcement @POTUS instructed all agencies to take action to implement his decision,” the Middle East Envoy tweeted. “It’s a large process to update everything. The USG is working on this but it takes time. As the saying goes, ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day.’”
When the Syrian government recently challenged the legality of declaring Israeli sovereignty over the Golan heights, Danny Danon, Israel’s representative to the UN, responded, “To whom does the UN want to give the Golan: to Iranian fighters, to Shi’ite militias, to jihadist forces?”