The United States has discarded to use the word “occupied” in describing the Israeli / Syrian Golan Heights paving a way for possibly recognizing the region as Israeli territory.
The State Department changed its usual description of the Golan Heights from “Israeli-occupied” to “Israeli-controlled” in an annual global human rights report released on Wednesday.
Israel has been lobbying the administration of US President Donald Trump to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which it effectively annexed in 1981. Tel Aviv claims the Syrian Golan Heights, which Israeli forces captured in a 1967, is critical to its security.
However, the United Nations emphasizes Syria’s sovereignty in the territory.
A separate section on the West Bank and Gaza Strip, areas that Israel captured along with the Golan Heights in 1967, also did not refer to those territories as being “occupied” or under “occupation.”
Any change in US language and terminology in regard to the West Bank and Gaza Strip is a cause of concern to Muslims and reflects Washington’s intentions about supporting the establishment of a Palestinian state envisaged by interim peace agreements in the 1990s.
Analysts believe the Trump administration is turning its back on Palestinians and its international obligations towards the establishment of a Palestinian state, to further serve and defend Israel’s interests.