Construction in Efrat, Judea. (Gershon Elinson/Flash90) (Gershon Elinson/Flash90)
Construction Efrat

The State Department ceased using the term “occupied” in references to Judea and Samaria, sparking Palestinian anger. 

By: United with Israel Staff

The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday condemned the US State Department for dropping the term “occupied  territories” when referring to the Judea and Samaria region in its annual human rights report.

The ministry said in a statement that “this act is another one in a long list of US actions and policies targeting Palestine and the Palestinian people”.

“The current administration of US President Donald Trump has abandoned its respect for international law and has actually taken steps that violate this law by implementing illegitimate and illegal positions on Palestine and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict,” the Palestinians charged.

“The American administration is not only biased towards Israel, but fully embraces its illegal policies to a point they have become part of US ideology and policies,” said the Foreign Ministry.

The Palestinians stressed, however, that by dropping the term “occupied territories” from the US State Department report, “it does not in any way mean anything and does not eliminate the concept of occupied territory according to international law and international legality, but it reveals to the world once again the reality of the US positions, especially for those who refuse to see them as they are.”

In it latest annual report on human rights,  the State Department did not use the controversial term “occupied” in references to various territories in and adjacent to Israel.

Israel liberated Judea and Samaria and unified Jerusalem in the 1967 Six Day War. Israel has since annexed those liberated parts of Jerusalem.

While the term “occupied” had been used in such reports since the Carter administration, the 2017 version drops this term, which is generally used pejoratively to criticize Israeli policy following military victories through which the Jewish state acquired control of various territories.

The change comes after US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman advised the department in December to stop using the “misleading” term “occupied” in references to Judea and Samaria.

The term “occupied” is considered by many to be a loaded phrase intended to demonize Israel with regard to its activities in disputed areas.

In response to the State Department’s change in terminology, Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman tweeted over the weekend, “the lie of the occupied Palestinian territories begins to be revealed. They say that a lie repeated often enough becomes true, but the truth is forever stronger. The State Department report is proof of that.”

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