During the meeting, Netanyahu told Obama that he is doubtful that Syria could be reunited again into a functioning state and that the current situation “allows for different thinking” about the future status of the Golan Heights, Haaretz reported, citing sources familiar with the situation.
Obama reportedly did not reply to Netanyahu’s suggestion. Several Israeli figures have called for Netanyahu to urge the U.S. to recognize the Golan Heights recently. Earlier this week, former ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren urged Netanyahu to “to ask for American recognition of full Israeli sovereignty on the Golan Heights through a presidential declaration and accompanying letter.”
Israel took control of the Golan Heights during the 1967 Six Day War and has controlled the territory since, with only a brief Syrian incursion occurring during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. In 1981 Israel annexed the territory and extended Israeli civilian control over the region. Israel’s move was not recognized by the international community, including the United States.
At various times Israel has secretly negotiated with Syria over the status of the Golan Heights, with the most recent talks held in 2011, only months before the outbreak of the Syrian Civil War. In those various talks, Israeli proposals included ceding territory in the Golan Heights for either a peace deal with Syria or a promise to cut ties with Iran and its terror proxy Hezbollah.