State Department strikes “Occupied Territories” from human rights report

Acting secretary of state John Sullivan speaks at the release of the 2017 human rights report Friday at the State Department. (photo: Win Mcnamee / Getty Images)

Instead, this year’s report refers to “Israel, Golan Heights, West Bank and Gaza.”

By Carol Morello | The Washington Post | Apr 20, 2018


“[Israel] did maintain generally that all incidents [of alleged abuse] were thoroughly investigated and parties held accountable, as appropriate, according to due process of law.”
— 2017 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices


The State Department’s annual human rights report released Friday drops references to reproductive rights for women and stops using the phrase “Occupied Territories” to describe Israel’s presence in Gaza and the West Bank.

The report, which covers 2017, focuses less on societal attitudes and discrimination than in previous years and more on governmental actions that encourage or reward violence and bigotry. It is the first human rights report to reflect the Trump administration’s views and priorities.

Previous reports included a lengthy section devoted to Israel and the Occupied Territories. Last year’s report mentioned human rights problems and said the Israeli government took “some steps” to punish officials who committed abuses.

This year, the section is titled “Israel, Golan Heights, West Bank and Gaza.” The introduction to it notes that the State Department sought an Israeli response to allegations of abuse and that Israel “did maintain generally that all incidents were thoroughly investigated and parties held accountable, as appropriate, according to due process of law.”

Continue reading “State Department strikes “Occupied Territories” from human rights report”

State Department Condemns Israeli Settlements

October 5, 2016
Mark C. Toner, Deputy State Department Spokesperson


“Proceeding with this new settlement is another step towards cementing a one-state reality of perpetual occupation that is fundamentally inconsistent with Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state.”


We strongly condemn the Israeli government’s recent decision to advance a plan that would create a significant new settlement deep in the West Bank.

Proceeding with this new settlement, which could include up to 300 units, would further damage the prospects for a two state solution. The retroactive authorization of nearby illegal outposts, or redrawing of local settlement boundaries, does not change the fact that this approval contradicts previous public statements by the Government of Israel that it had no intention of creating new settlements. And this settlement’s location deep in the West Bank, far closer to Jordan than Israel, would link a string of outposts that effectively divide the West Bank and make the possibility of a viable Palestinian state more remote.

It is deeply troubling, in the wake of Israel and the U.S. concluding an unprecedented agreement on military assistance designed to further strengthen Israel’s security, that Israel would take a decision so contrary to its long term security interest in a peaceful resolution of its conflict with the Palestinians. Furthermore, it is disheartening that while Israel and the world mourned the passing of President Shimon Peres, and leaders from the U.S. and other nations prepared to honor one of the great champions of peace, plans were advanced that would seriously undermine the prospects for the two state solution that he so passionately supported.

Israelis must ultimately decide between expanding settlements and preserving the possibility of a peaceful two state solution. Since the recent Quartet report called on both sides to take affirmative steps to reverse current trends and advance the two state solution on the ground, we have unfortunately seen just the opposite. Proceeding with this new settlement is another step towards cementing a one-state reality of perpetual occupation that is fundamentally inconsistent with Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state. Such moves will only draw condemnation from the international community, distance Israel from many of its partners, and further call into question Israel’s commitment to achieving a negotiated peace.

[Read the statement here. . . ]