U.S. drops ‘occupied’ from report on West Bank, Gaza and Golan Heights

Washington (QNN)- In its annual human rights report for 2018 released on Wednesday, the U.S. State Department referred to the Golan Heights as “Israeli-controlled territory”, changing the language used by previous administrations, which referred to the area as “occupied territory.”

Israel has been lobbying the administration of US President Donald Trump to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Rep. Senator Lindsey Graham has said on Monday he would lobby the U.S. administration to recognize the occupied Golan Heights as belonging to Israel although of the UN. emphasis on Syria’s sovereignty in the territory.

“Working with Sen. [Ted] Cruz, I will start an effort to recognize the Golan as part of the State of Israel now and forever,” Graham said. “Israel occupied this territory by fighting for its survival,” the senator added.

A separate section on the West Bank and Gaza Strip — areas that Israel captured along with the Golan Heights during the Six-Day War in 1967 — also did not refer to those territories as being “occupied” or under “occupation.”

A State Department source said Wednesday that “our policy on the Golan Heights has not changed. We retitled the human rights report to refer to the commonly used geographic names of the area the report covers.”

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