Israeli Merkava tanks are seen in a deployment area near the Syrian border in the Israel-annexed Golan Heights. AFP / MENAHEM KAHANA
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Israel is pressing the Trump administration to recognize its sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights, an Israeli cabinet minister said Wednesday, predicting U.S. assent could come within months.It was part of Syria until Israel captured it in the 1967 Middle East war.Russia, Damascus's big-power ally, has long insisted that Syria's territorial integrity should be restored -- a position implicitly requiring an eventual return of the part of the Golan occupied by Israel.Katz, however, played down any prospect of a blow-up between Moscow and Washington, casting the proposed U.S. recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan as a piece of a larger Syria mosaic.Katz suggested that a U.S. move on the Golan could also prod the Palestinians -- who have shunned the Trump administration since it announced in December that it would relocate the embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv -- to revive peace talks.Since 1967, about 20,000 Israeli settlers have moved to the Golan, which also borders Jordan.In 2000, Israel and Syria held their highest-level talks over a possible return of the Golan and a peace agreement.
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