U.S. President Donald Trump (right 2) and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (R) walk past the honor guard during official welcome ceremony prior to their meeting in Bethlehem, West Bank on May 23, 2017. (Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

PA Criticizes U.S. Move to Drop ‘Occupied’ from Palestinian Territories

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesperson for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, criticized the U.S. State Department for removing occupied” in reference to the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Golan Heights from their annual human rights report, as well as referring to the Golan Heights as “Israeli-controlled”. The US State Department said the new alterations did not indicate a change in policy. In a statement released on Wednesday by the official Palestinian news agency WAFA, Abu Rudeineh said the move “was a continuation of the hostile approach of the American administration toward our Palestinian people and is contrary to all UN resolutions”. The Jewish state annexed East Jerusalem (1980) and the Golan Heights (1981), however such measures were never recognized by the international community. The move comes as the region awaits for U.S. President Donald Trump’s Peace Plan, expected to be unveiled following Israel’s election, taking place on April 9th, with speculation abound that the deal includes a split of Jerusalem. Relations between Washington and Ramallah have soured since Trump declared Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel in 2017.

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