In a shocking exchange at the State Department, the spokesman for Biden’s foreign policy team refused to describe Palestinians the West Bank as living under military occupation by Israel.
By Philip Weiss | Mondoweiss | Jan 27, 2023
So Secretary of State Antony Blinken is about to fly out to meet with Israeli leaders, and the Biden administration appears to be adopting Trump’s reflexively pro-Israel policies in yet another area.
Yesterday in a shocking exchange at the State Department, the spokesman for Biden’s foreign policy team refused to describe Palestinians in Jenin and other areas of the West Bank as living under military occupation by Israel.
In the wake of an Israeli military raid that killed ten Palestinians in Jenin, Vedant Patel of the State Department was repeatedly asked if they were occupied, and evaded the question:
Said Arikat of Al Quds newspaper: What is the status of the Palestinian people in the West Bank, including Jenin… and everywhere else in the West Bank? It’s a simple question. Are they under occupation?
Patel: Said, let me say a couple of things to the point that I believe —
Arikat: Vedant, are they occupied or are they not occupied? What is the status that you give the Palestinians right at this moment? What kind of status do they have?
Patel: Said, the recent period has seen a sharp and —
Arikat: I’m not talking about a recent period. I am saying about legally, how do you designate the Palestinians in the West Bank? What is their status?
Patel: Said, I understand the question you’re asking, and I – as we’ve said previously, it is vital for both sides to take action to prevent even greater loss, and we condemn any violence, escalation, or provocation