U.S. Drops 'Occupied,' Refers to Golan Heights as 'Israeli-Controlled'

Ali Musa Daqduq

Ali Musa Daqduq

In the report for year-ending 2018, the description of the Golan Heights, the text was changed from "Israel-occupied" to "Israeli-controlled".

In the latest annual global human rights report, the U.S. has stopped using the term "occupied" when talking about areas of Palestine controlled by Israel, including the Golan Heights, the West Bank and Gaza.

According to Reuters, Daqduq's fate became a source of tension between Baghdad and Washington in 2011 as the United States military reportedly prepared to withdraw from Iraq.

Hours before the US report was released, Israel accused a suspected Lebanese Hezbollah operative who was previously held in Iraq over the killing of five USA military personnel of now setting up a guerrilla network on the Syrian-controlled side of the Golan for cross-border attacks.

The release of the images comes the same day as the Israeli army revealed that the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah has recruited a number of villagers residing in the Syrian Golan Heights in recent months to make preparations and carry out intelligence gathering for terrorist operations on the border with Israel.

Most of the worldwide community considers the West Bank, Gaza and the Golan to be occupied territories. The Jewish state uprooted all permanent civilian and military presence in the Gaza Strip in 2005. "Palestinian residents of the West Bank and Gaza detained on security grounds fell under military jurisdiction as applied by Israel to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, even if detained inside Israel".

A masked gunman holds up a Hizbollah flag
A masked gunman holds up a Hizbollah flag Credit Reuters

There was no immediate comment from Israeli leaders on the USA terminology change, which stopped short of a formal declaration accepting the territorial claim.

Abu Rudeineh also alleged that the US decision to drop the reference to "occupied" was part of an American effort "to allow what is called "the deal of the century" to liquidate the Palestinian people to come to pass", referring to US President Donald Trump's apparently forthcoming proposal for Israeli-Palestinian peace.

US officials have said Washington will present a new Israeli-Palestinian peace plan after Israel's April 9 election.

Graham spoke during a tour of the plateau, captured from Syria during the 1967 Middle East War, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

President Donald Trump, who has shown robust support for Israel, recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital in 2017, defying worldwide consensus much to the chagrin of Palestinian leaders, who view Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

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