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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at his official residence in Jerusalem yesterday. Photo: Amir Cohen/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

It was another day of diplomacy in the age of Twitter, with @realDonaldTrump tweeting: "After 52 years it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel’s Sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which is of critical strategic and security importance to the State of Israel and Regional Stability!"

Why it matters: The president’s tweet calls for a change in U.S. policy toward the Golan Heights but does not actually declare it. There are many reasons for the president not to turn his tweet into policy.  It would all but eliminate what little chance exists for peace between Israel and either the Palestinians or Arab states, such as Saudi Arabia. 

  • Coming on the heels of the U.S. decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem, it would eliminate any remaining ability of the Trump administration to act as an honest broker.  
  • A change in U.S. policy would not change the situation on the ground or improve Israeli security.  Israel already occupies the Golan Heights, and there is no reason for it to give up an inch of it in the absence of a Syrian government prepared to live in peace with Israel. 
  • The only effect of a new U.S. policy then would be to increase the isolation of both Israel and the U.S.

The president's tweet is presumably meant to bolster his political standing as well as Bibi Netanyahu's in the run-up to the April 9 Israeli elections.

  • But it would come at a steep cost to Israel, as UN Resolution 242 has been the foundation of at times fruitful efforts to broker peace between Israelis and Arabs for more than half a century. 
  • The resolution asserts the right of every country in the region to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries.
  • This is precisely what Israel and the U.S. have sought since Israel’s creation in 1948.   

Richard Haass is president of the Council on Foreign Relations and the author of "A World in Disarray."

Go deeper

30 mins ago - World

Scoop: U.S. and Israel held secret talks on Iran "plan B"

Bennett and Biden. Photo: Sarahbeth Maney/Pool/Getty Images

The U.S. and Israel held secret talks on Iran last week to discuss a possible “plan B” if nuclear talks are not resumed, two senior Israeli officials tell me.

Why it matters: This is the first time a top-secret U.S.-Israel strategic working group on Iran has convened since the new Israeli government took office in June.

1 hour ago - World

Scoop: Jake Sullivan plans to visit Saudi Arabia, Egypt and UAE next week

Sullivan. Photo: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

White House National Security adviser Jake Sullivan is planning to travel to the Middle East next week, including a stop in Saudi Arabia. He would be the most senior Biden administration official to visit the kingdom.

Why it matters: Sullivan's first trip to the region since taking office is expected to include stops in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, sources briefed on the plans tell Axios. All three countries are longtime U.S. partners who have faced some early tensions with Biden.

2 hours ago - World

WHO revises air quality guidelines to reduce deaths from pollution

Smoke from California wildfires over the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco in August 2021. Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The World Health Organization on Wednesday updated air quality guidelines it set roughly 15 years ago, saying that negative health effects from air pollutants can begin at lower levels than it previously thought.

Why it matters: The changes are meant to reduce deaths from pollutants that cause cardiovascular and respiratory diseases and prematurely kill an estimated 7 million people around the world annually, according to the WHO.

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