On Wednesday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo released the 2018 Human Rights Report from the State Department. The document included a section on Israel and spoke about the proprietorship of the Golan Heights, Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip.
The report stated that the Golan Heights were “Israeli-controlled” land. It did not say that it was an “occupied territory”. The report also dropped the words “occupied” and “occupation” from every mention relating to Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip. This is the first report by the State Department that does so.
The report read: “Israel’s democratic institutions remain strong, including a free press, independent judiciary, free and fair elections, and rule of law.”
Noting the violence that has occurred along the border of the Gaza Strip over the past year the report said: “Beginning on March 30, Israeli forces engaged in conflict with Palestinians at the Gaza fence, including armed terrorists, militants who launched incendiary devices into Israel, and unarmed protesters, reportedly leading to 190 Palestinian deaths by the end of the year.”
The report spoke about human rights issues caused both by Palestinians and the Israeli government.
“Other human rights issues included reports of unlawful or arbitrary killings, including rocket attacks from Gaza-based militants and terrorist attacks targeting Israelis that killed 16 people in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza; arbitrary detention of irregular migrants from January to April; unresolved issues of land and housing for Arab citizens, especially Bedouin Israelis; punitive demolitions of the homes of Palestinians following terrorist attacks by a family member on Israelis; excessive force by police in response to protests by certain groups; use of administrative (pre-crime or pre-indictment) detention against Palestinians whom the government deemed security risks; and restrictions on freedom of movement for Palestinians.”
The Palestinian Authority and Hamas also received attention for their human rights abuses in the report.
“In areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority, there were allegations of torture of political prisoners, restrictions on freedom of expression, including for members of the press, forced labor, and child labor.
“Human rights abuses under Hamas’ rule in Gaza reportedly included rocket and mortar attacks against civilian targets in Israel, unlawful and arbitrary killings, disappearances, torture, arbitrary and unlawful detention, including of political prisoners; restrictions on freedoms of expression, including for members of press, such as violence against journalists; and arbitrary interference with NGO operations and opposition political parties.”
While the report didn’t praise Israel per se, it didn’t refer to any sort of occupation in any of the areas that Israel controls.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)