Muslim Times(Web Desk) – A high-ranking member of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) says a US decision to drop Israeli-occupied designation from the Golan Heights and Palestinian territories in its latest annual human rights report is meant to whitewash the Israeli occupation and human rights violations against the Palestinian nation.
“After the release of the so-called human rights report by the US State Department, it is now abundantly clear that [US President Donald] Trump’s administration is gearing all branches of the government to whitewash the Israeli occupation and its pervasive violations of human rights,” Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Executive Committee of the PLO, said in a statement released on Thursday.
She added, “The report also de-contextualizes the reality by omitting the inescapable fact of Israeli occupation of Palestine, reflecting this administration’s infatuation with an alternative yet fallacious version of reality and legality.”
The senior Palestinian official further denounced the report for describing Palestinians as mere “residents,” saying the account negates Palestinian people’s national identity and deep roots in their homeland. “This is both morally and politically reprehensible,” Ashrawi said.
“The intention of this publication is clear. It is to exonerate Israel from its indisputable human rights violations, while deliberately attempting to depict the racist policies and attitudes of the Israeli regime as benign despite the fact that they deny the Palestinian people’s humanity, nationality, and narrative,” she said.
Ashrawi noted: “In its zealous pursuit to justify and mainstream the right-wing agenda in Israel, the Trump administration has made a mockery of the human rights report and reaffirmed its complicity in the promotion and support of human rights violations against Palestinian people. The legal and political standing of Palestine and the Syrian Golan Heights as territory under Israeli occupation is indisputable under international law. Under the Trump administration, these facts have been discarded and denied in these reports. However, denial of facts cannot alter reality nor change the legal and standing moral obligations of states under international law to respect and ensure respect of human rights.”
“The Trump administration has spared no effort to reassert its destabilizing role and hostile agenda in the region in collusion with Israel. It is futile to engage with such disruptive actors, especially given their aversion to facts and their demonstrable hostility to the Palestinian people’s national and human rights. However, the Palestinian leadership and people will continue to engage with partners who share our values and commitment to international law and peace based on respect, dignity, and justice,” she concluded.
In its so-called Country Human Rights Practices for 2018 published on Wednesday, the US State Department dropped references to the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Israel seized the Golan Heights from Syria after the 1967 Six-Day War and later occupied it in a move that has never been recognized by the international community. The regime has built dozens of settlements in the area ever since and has used the region to carry out a number of military operations against the Syrian government.
Any change in US language and terminology in regard to the West Bank and Gaza Strip is a cause of concern for Muslims as it reflects Washington’s intentions about supporting the establishment of a Palestinian state envisaged by interim peace agreements in the 1990s.
Analysts believe the Trump administration is turning its back on Palestinians and its international obligations towards the establishment of a Palestinian state to further serve and defend Israel’s interests.