Yumna Patel reports in Mondoweiss:
In what may signal a major break in longstanding US policy, the State Department referred to the occupied Syrian Golan Heights as “Israeli-controlled,” as opposed to the usual “Israeli-occupied,” for the first time in their 2018 human rights report published Wednesday.
In the report, the State Department failed to refer to the Golan Heights, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip as occupied territories.
Additionally, the preface of the report’s chapter on Israel reads “this section includes Israel, including Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights,” suggesting that the entirety of the city, including occupied East Jerusalem, is part of Israel.
The move comes one year after the State Department dropped the term “occupied territories” from the 2017 report’s headline. That year’s report, however, still referred to the respective territories as occupied in the text itself.
The Golan Heights, West Bank, and East Jerusalem were captured by Israel in the 1967 war. Jerusalem was formally annexed by Israel in 1980, and a year later Israel extended its “laws, jurisdiction and administration” into the Golan Heights, essentially annexing it as well.
The international community, including the US, has not recognized Israel’s sovereignty over those territories, and maintains that the continued settlement expansion in the West Bank and East Jerusalem is illegal.
As part of the international consensus, Washington has long referred to the territories as occupied.