Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced Monday that the Israeli government wants to quadruple the population of the Golan Heights to ensure the territory captured from Syria in 1967 will stay Israeli.
“The Golan Heights is Israeli, period,” Bennett said. His plan is to bring the population of Golan Heights to around 100,000, up from its current population of 27,000. He said Israel’s “aim is to double, and then double again the number of residents on the Golan Heights.”
Israel annexed the Golan Heights in 1981, a move that was not recognized internationally. In 2019, the Trump administration broke with the rest of the world and recognized the Golan Heights as Israeli territory.
At the beginning of Joe Biden’s presidency, there was some question over whether or not the new administration would continue recognizing the Golan Heights as Israeli. In February, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Israeli control of the territory is important for “Israel’s security” and left open the possibility of re-examining the recognition in the future.
In June, amid rumors that the Biden administration was going to reverse the recognition, the State Department said the policy has not changed. “US policy regarding the Golan has not changed, and reports to the contrary are false,” the State Department said.
Ultimately, the Biden administration has been extremely pro-Israel, and the idea that the recognition would change is unlikely.