The founding of the town of “Trump Heights” (Ramat Trump) was greeted with great fanfare. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and American Ambassador David Friedman held a deluxe ceremony to celebrate the new town in the Golan Heights which President Trump officially recognized as part of Israel earlier this year. Trump himself thanked Israel for the honor in a celebratory tweet.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 16, 2019
But according to an article in the Israeli daily Ha’aretz and multiple reports in the Israeli press, it’s more Potemkin village than Trump Heights. No actual town or village has actually been founded at all. It appears to be little more than a PR stunt to curry favor with the President who continues to openly support Netanyahu as the country moves toward new elections in September. No money has been budgeted for the new town. Nor is there specific location. Indeed, there’s no commitment to build a town at all. The decision will be left to the government that takes power after the next election. In the words of Israeli journalist Barak Ravid: “A settlement by the name of “Trump Heights” or “Ramat Trump” doesn’t exist. It my exist in the future but the Israeli cabinet still hasn’t even decided to do it. For now there’s only a sign.“
The head of the Golan caucus in the Israeli Knesset, Zvi Hauser went even further: “Anyone who reads the fine print of the ‘historic’ decision understands that this is a conceptual decision. There is no funding. There is no planning. There is no location and there is really no committed decision.”
The ceremony seems to be an effort to further burnish the current government’s bond with President Trump who loves nothing more than a ribbon cutting ceremony with his name is shiny gold lettering. The decision to build a town may be taken later. Or it may never happen at all. For Trump the fine print doesn’t seem to matter.