Israel unveils a new settlement called 'Trump Heights', which isn't actually new and doesn't even really exist

trump heights israelsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, his wife Sara , United States Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, left, his wife Tammy pose during the inauguration of a new settlement named after President Donald Trump in the Golan Heights, Sunday, June 16, 2019. The Trump name graces apartment towers, hotels and golf courses. Now it is the namesake of a tiny Jewish settlement in the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights.AP Photo/Ariel Schalit

  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday unveiled a new settlement named "Trump Heights" in the disputed Golan Heights region.
  • Netanyahu called the event "historic" and said the community was named in honor of "a very great friend of the State of Israel." 
  • But according to Ynet News, Trump Heights replaces the name of an existing village called Beruchim, home to about 10 people.
  • Critics dismissed the move as a PR stunt with no actual planning, and its creation is not legally binding. 
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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday unveiled a new settlement named "Trump Heights" in the disputed Golan Heights region.

The name, a nod to the US President, follows Trump's formal recognition for Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights. The Golan Heights, a mostly hilly region which borders Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan, was captured by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War and Israel considers it a part of its state, though much of the international community considers it to be occupied territory. 

In a ceremony on Sunday, Netanyahu unveiled the community's sign complete with interlaced Israeli and US flags, and said the move honored "a very great friend of the State of Israel."

"We are proud that we have this opportunity to establish the community and also honor a great friend," Netanyahu told the press. "This is a historic day for us." 

Read more: Netanyahu joins Trump at the White House as the president officially recognizes the Golan Heights as part of Israel

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman tweeted on Sunday that this was the first time Israel has dedicated a village to a sitting president since Harry Truman in 1949. He also extended birthday wishes to Trump. 

Trump on Sunday called the naming a "great honor."

According to Ynet News, Trump Heights replaces the name of an existing village called Beruchim, home to about 10 people. The settlement borders a larger community called Qela, which protested the name change over concern that their community would become part of "Trump Heights."

Critics dismissed the move as a PR stunt meant to stroke the ego of the US president. Member of Knesset Zvi Hauser noted that the establishment of the community is in concept only. 

"Those who read the fine print of this 'historic' decision understand that it is a dummy decision," he wrote on Twitter. "There is no budgeting, no planning, no location and no real binding decision."

Nadav Eyal, Chief International Correspondent for Reshet News, noted that the interim Israeli government can't legally follow through with the development of a new community while new elections have been called

 

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