JERUSALEM, June 14 (Xinhua) -- Israel started on Sunday preparations for building a new settlement in the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights named after U.S. President Donald Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.
Cabinet ministers ratified a decision to establish the new settlement, named "Ramat Trump" in Hebrew, meaning "Trump Heights," according to a statement released by the Prime Minister's Office.
"Today, we will begin practical steps in establishing the community of Ramat Trump on the Golan Heights," Netanyahu told the cabinet meeting.
The new settlement will be located in the Golan, a disputed territory that Israel seized from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war and has controlled ever since despite international criticism.
Minister of Settlement Affairs Tzipi Hotovely, whose office was tasked with coordinating efforts to establish the new settlement, hailed the move as "great news for the settlement activity in the Golan Heights."
"The ministry is starting to work to prepare the ground," she said in a statement, adding the settlement will be populated with an initial group of 300 settlers.
The move comes weeks before Netanyahu plans to begin his controversial plan to annex the Jordan Valley, a portion of the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Netanyahu set July 1 as the starting date for the beginning of the plan despite international condemnations.
Trump recognized in March 2019 Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Enditem