U.S. Drops Word 'Occupied' When Referring to West Bank, Golan


According to the United States, the West Bank and the Golan Heights are no longer Israeli "occupied territory."

In an annual human rights report, the State Department dropped that word when referring to the territories, a historic first. The United States has not yet recognized the Golan Heights as coming under Israeli control, but it may be a step in that direction.

The Times of Israel reports that U.S. Ambassador David Friedman had lobbied for the change. According to law professor Eugene Kontorovich, this is a "massive change" in U.S. policy.

“This year’s report for the first time does not use the inaccurate legal description ‘occupation’ to refer to Israel’s presence in the West Bank or Golan,” said Professor Eugene Kontorovich, a professor of international law and director of International Law at the Jerusalem-based Kohelet Policy Forum.

“This is a massive change in how America relates to the conflict. It is coming to understand that while Israel and the Palestinians have a dispute, international law does not provide the answers to that dispute. The report also for the first time expresses skepticism at the claims and submissions of anti-Israel groups, whose poorly documented allegations had previously been accepted as gospel,” he said.

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