The Trump name graces apartment towers, hotels and golf courses across the world and now it will be the namesake of a tiny new Israeli community on a contested frontier zone with Syria.
Israel announced on Sunday that it is set to name the settlement in the Israel-controlled Golan Heights after President Donald Trump.
The ‘Trump Heights’ project is intended to cement ties after Trump broke with other world powers to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the plateau in March.
Trump tweeted his thanks to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the namesake community.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the new settlement of ‘Ramat Trump’, or ‘Trump Heights’ in English, before unveiling the huge sign on Sunday
‘Thank you PM @Netanyahu and the State of Israel for this great honor!’ Trump tweeted on Sunday
While it was approved in principle on Sunday, construction looks likely to lag given Netanyahu’s political stumbles.
At a special cabinet session in Beruchim, a sparse clutch of homes just 7.5 miles from the Golan Heights armistice line with Syria, Netanyahu and U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman unveiled a sign labelled ‘Trump Heights’ in English and Hebrew.
The sign was decorated with the Israeli and U.S. flags and planted on a patch of synthetic grass.
Israel captured the Golan from Syria in a 1967 war and later annexed and settled it – moves not accepted by most world powers, who deem it to be occupied Syrian territory.
Ongoing hostilities between Israel and Syria, and internal Syrian fighting that drew Iranian-backed auxiliaries to back Damascus and deploy near the Golan, helped Netanyahu make his case for Trump to recognise the Israeli claim of sovereignty.
Trump tweeted his thanks to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the namesake community
Israel announced on Sunday that it is set to name the settlement in the Israel-controlled Golan Heights after President Donald Trump. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman unveiled a sign (above) labelled ‘Trump Heights’ in English and Hebrew
Trump similarly delighted Israelis – while appalling other world powers – by recognising Jerusalem as their capital and withdrawing from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
‘Trump is a great friend of Israel,’ Netanyahu said.
‘He has torn the mask off this hypocrisy which doesn’t recognise the obvious.’
Israeli authorities hope a revamping of Beruchim, home to an ageing immigrant community from the former Soviet Union, to ‘Trump Heights’ might bring a resident influx.
But a June 12 memorandum from Netanyahu’s office showed the plan was far from implementation: it lacks earmarked funds as well as final approval for its precise location and name.
‘In this (cabinet) resolution, it is proposed that the name of the community, if it is founded, be ‘Trump Heights’,’ said the memorandum, signed by a deputy legal counsellor, Yael Cohen.
The hesitancy was in part due to the fact that Netanyahu heads a caretaker government, having failed to form a coalition after coming ahead in Israel’s April 9 election.
Israeli authorities hope a revamping of Beruchim, home to an ageing immigrant community from the former Soviet Union, to ‘Trump Heights’ might bring a resident influx. A sign put up by residents in the area in May reads: ‘Trump Heights is not here’
The conservative four-term premier must now contest a September 17 vote.
In such an interval, Cohen wrote, legal rulings ‘require, as a general rule, restraint in decision-making’ by the cabinet.
Netanyahu’s centre-left rivals ridiculed Sunday’s ceremony.
‘Whoever reads the small print on the ‘historic’ resolution understands that it is a dummy-resolution,’ tweeted Zvi Hauser, an ex-Netanyahu cabinet secretary now with an opposition party.
Netanyahu’s political flailing has tested the patience of Trump, who earlier this month said Israel was ‘all messed up’ over the election and needed to ‘get their act together’.
The upheaval appears to have put a spanner in the works of a long-awaited U.S. proposal for Israeli-Palestinian peace.
Trump advisers had predicted the plan would be made public this month, but officials now say that is unlikely to happen until after the September election.