Tel Aviv (dpa) – A senior Palestinian official on Thursday accused
the United States of trying to “whitewash the Israeli occupation,”
following the release of its annual Human Rights Report.
The 2018 report for Israel, the Golan Heights, the West Bank and Gaza
replaced the previous report’s description of the “Israeli-occupied
Golan Heights” with “Israeli-controlled Golan Heights.”
The new report also makes no direct mention of occupation of the
Palestinian Territories, only using the term in quotes from human
rights organizations. The 2017 report had referred to occupied
territories in reference to the Palestinians.
Hanan Ashwari, a top member of the Palestinian Liberation
Organization (PLO) said “it is now abundantly clear that the Trump
administration is gearing all branches of the government to whitewash
the Israeli occupation and its pervasive violations of human rights.”
“The legal and political standing of Palestine and the Syrian Golan
Heights as territory under Israeli occupation is indisputable under
international law,” Ashwari said.
A spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declined to comment
on the US report.
Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Arab-Israeli
War, and unilaterally annexed the territory in 1981, which was not
In the 1967 war, Israel also captured and occupied the West Bank from
Jordan and the Gaza Strip from Egypt. Israel pulled out of Gaza in
2005 but maintains a blockade over the territory.
Israel seeks international recognition of its sovereignty over the
US Senator Lindsey Graham toured the area with Netanyahu on Monday
and pledged to start an effort to recognize the Golan as part of the
state of Israel.