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In boost for Netanyahu, Trump signs proclamation recognizing Golan Heights as Israeli territory

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U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday recognized the Golan Heights as Israeli territory in an election boost for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as his chief political rival sought to appear as a better alternative to lead Israel.

During a White House visit by Netanyahu, Trump signed a proclamation officially granting U.S. recognition of the Golan Heights as Israeli territory, in a dramatic shift from decades of U.S. policy. Israel seized the strategic land from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war.

The recognition, which Trump had announced in a tweet last Thursday, appeared to be the most overt gesture by the Republican president to help Netanyahu, who had been pressing Trump for the move.

The Israeli prime minister, who faces an election on April 9, earlier on Monday cut short his U.S. visit after a rocket fired from Gaza injured seven people near Tel Aviv. He arrived in Washington on Sunday, originally for a four-day trip.

Signing the document as Netanyahu looked over his shoulder, Trump said: “This was a long time in the making.”

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He handed the pen that he used for his signature to Netanyahu, and said: “Give this to the people of Israel.”

Netanyahu welcomed Trump’s move and said Israel has never had a better friend. He harked back to two previous Middle Eastern wars as the reason why Israel needs to hang on to the Golan.

“Just as Israel stood tall in 1967, just as it stood tall in 1973, Israel stands tall today. We hold the high ground and we should never give it up,” he said.

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The rocket attack near Tel Aviv in central Israel, blamed on Hamas, came as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a pro-Israel group, held its annual meeting in Washington with speaker after speaker expressing U.S. support for strong ties with the country.

“We stand with Israel because her cause is our cause, her values are our values, and her fight is our fight,” Vice President Mike Pence said.

Pence also talked tough against Iran, saying that under Trump, “America will never allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon.”

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Netanyahu’s strongest election challenger, Benny Gantz, appeared before the gathering on Monday, and vowed to protect his country against threats from Iran and Syria. He called for unity in Israel.

“We must remember if that we want hope, we must have unity,” he said.

With election day approaching, opinion polls put Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud and Gantz’s centrist Blue and White party neck and neck.

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Trump’s event came as he celebrated the end of U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign colluded with Russia. Attorney General William Barr on Sunday said Mueller found no evidence that the campaign conspired or coordinated with Russia.

Reporting by Steve Holland and Jeff Mason; editing by Jonathan Oatis


Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
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Trump thinks impeachment is over after House vote

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Following a vote by the Democratic House to table an effort by Rep. Al Green (D-TX) to approve articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, the president gloatingly told reporters "that's the end of it," and mocked the resolution as a "ridiculous project."

"The House of Representatives rejecting a bid to launch impeachment proceedings against President Trump, and President Trump declaring victory," reported CNN's Erin Burnett. "Telling reporters seconds ago 'We've just received an overwhelming vote against impeachment, and that's the end of it.' He went on to call it the 'most ridiculous project.' Riding high now over how the whole saga over his racist tweets is playing out."

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This explains why Trump picked a fight with the four Congresswomen of color: analysis

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On one hand, President Donald Trump almost certainly chose to mark out Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) because of his own deep-seated racism.

But there is likely another reason he is doing it, wrote Aaron Blake of the Washington Post's "The Fix" on Wednesday: because his core voters hate them as much as he does.

Blake cited a new The Economist/YouGov poll of 2016 Trump voters' opinions on several politicians. "As you peruse it, it becomes clear that the conventional wisdom about why Trump picked these targets is right: They were ripe for motivating the GOP base ... All of them are better known among Republicans than Democrats, which suggests that a steady stream of coverage in conservative media has elevated them as potential Democratic bogeywomen. Trump is tilling fertile soil. And in fact, they might already be his most effective foils."

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REVEALED: Jeffrey Epstein used his fake passport to enter multiple countries

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Prosecutors revealed that the fake passport Jeffrey Epstein had among the items seized by investigators had been used.

According to NBC News, he used the passport to enter multiple countries in the 1980s, including the U.K, Spain and Saudi Arabia.

The passport was found in the safe of his New York home along with $70,000 in cash and 48 diamonds. There was a different name used on the passport and it had already expired, but it listed the residence in Saudi Arabia.

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