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Trump Heights (Hebrew: רמת טראמפ, Ramat Trump, [ʁaˈmat ˈtʁamp]) is a planned Israeli settlement in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights named after and in honor of the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump. Israeli settlements in the Golan Heights are widely regarded as illegal under international law, but the Israeli government disputes this.
The settlement is located near the community of Kela Alon, where the Beruchim community, which was founded in 1991, was located. The area of the settlement of Beruchim was planned for future expansion of the settlement of Kela Alon, and is inhabited by a few residents.
A kibbutz was established in the area in the 1980s. However, it disassembled after a few years. In 1991, an Israeli settlement called Brukhim was established on the land of the future Trump Heights. It failed to attract many residents. Brukhim had ten residents as of 2019.
The government of Israel convened on June 16, 2019, at the planned location in the depopulated settlement of Brukhim, very close to Kela Alon in the north-west of the Golan Heights, and declared the establishment of the new settlement as gratitude to Donald Trump for support for Israel and recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
The settlement did not yet have any funding at the time of its announced establishment. Due to this, it was met with criticism by then-opposition leaders in Israel. Zvi Hauser called it a "dummy-resolution". In Axios, it was referred to as a "public relations stunt". Gideon Remez later referred to the settlement as a Potemkin village. However, the Ministry of Construction entered the preliminary planning stage at this time.
In the first stage, 110 housing units were planned, with the regional council planning as many as 400 homes in the area in the long term. The population of the community was planned to consist of both religious and secular settlers. On August 6, 2019, the National Planning and Building Council approved the establishment of the new settlement. A pre-military mechina boarding school was inaugurated in the settlement on November 7, 2019, and it was reportedly attended by a community of teenagers by October 2020. As of June 2020[update], construction of housing had not begun. At that time, all but two letters of the entrance sign had been removed by either vandals or rough weather. However, the sign was restored by January 2021.
In June 2020, Israel's government approved 8 million Israeli new shekels (about 2.3 million in US dollars) in funding for the Trump Heights settlement. On July 4, 2020, a major sculptural memorial was placed adjacent to the entrance to Trump Heights, honoring President Donald J. Trump. It depicts an eagle in front of a menorah. Settlers began arriving in April 2021, with as many as twenty families having been expected to arrive that summer.
The planned settlement area for Trump Heights consists of about 276 dunams (about 68 acres). It is about 670 meters (~2,200 feet) above sea level. The surrounding area has been described as a "largely treeless" volcanic plateau, with tall grass and stray land mines.
The settlement is about 45 minutes from a hospital in Safed, and 30 minutes from a market in Kiryat Shmona. It is about 64.4 kilometers (40 miles) southwest of Damascus, Syria, and 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) from the armistice line with Syria.
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