The US State Department has changed its maps to show the disputed Golan Heights as Israeli territory, spokesperson Morgan Ortagus confirmed on Thursday, after Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he had received one of the updated versions.
“I know we have for sure we updated the maps,” Ortagus said when asked whether the State Department had taken such steps after President Donald Trump in March officially recognised the Golan Heights as part of Israel.
Netanyahu told reporters in Jerusalem earlier on Thursday that White House Senior Advisor Jared Kushner had given him one of the new maps, on which President Donald Trump had hand-written the word, “nice.”Ortagus would not comment on whether the State Department had taken additional steps to recognise the Golan Heights as Israeli, such as issuing new guidance regarding the nationality of people who are born in the territory.
“Let me get back to you on anything additional,” she said.
Israel seized control of the Golan Heights from Syria during the 1967 Six-Day War. While Israel adopted a law to annex the territory in 1981, the United Nations refused to recognise the move, calling it void and without any legal effect.
In 2018, after Israel organised local elections in the area on October 30, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution urging Israel to immediately withdraw its forces from the occupied territory.