In a major policy shift, the U.S. State Department has dropped the term “occupied” when referring to Israel’s presence in Gaza, the West Bank, and the Golan Heights. Israel captured those lands during the 1967 Six Day War and are still considered “disputed territories” by many international entities.
High-ranking members of the Israeli government praised the United States position while he Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed their deep frustration: “[T]his act is another one in a long list of US actions and policies targeting Palestine and the Palestinian people”.
+ + Anti-Israel operatives still reside in the State Department
United States Ambassador to Israel David Friedman was a driving force in getting the State Department to change it’s derogatory references, which is no small feat. Under prior administrations, the U.S. State Department has shown extreme bias against Israel as some people in the State Department remain a hotbed of bigotry and prejudice against the Jewish State.
• The State Department’s official “Country Reports on Terrorism 2016” wrongly blamed Israel for fostering Palestinian terrorism against Israeli citizens. Incredibly, it portrayed the Palestinian Authority as innocent bystanders to terror, and blamed the Jewish State for stalling the peace process.
• In 2017, State Department officials told Israeli leaders prior to President Trump’s historic visit to the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest site next to the Temple Mount, that they had to leave. “Israeli officials cannot be here,” the American bureaucrats insisted. “This is not your territory, it’s the West Bank.”
Christians in Defense of Israel has made changing the State Department’s animosity toward Israel a major priority. That’s why I applaud the Trump administration for this welcome change. The media often uses terms like “occupied territories” and “refugee camps” to delegitimize Israel. Most people hearing the words “refugee camp” visualize a makeshift tent city, when in reality these places are established neighborhoods with businesses and schools. I am pleased the State Department has eliminated the false term “occupied territories” language.
+ + What happened to Judea and Samaria?
In Acts 1:8, Jesus said to his disciples, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (NIV)
While the regions of Judea and Samaria still exist in Israel, the names have been changed by the international community, but not by Israel.
As explained by the Times of Israel, “Israel captured the Golan, the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza in the Six Day War. It has annexed East Jerusalem and the Golan and, in 2005, withdrew from the Gaza Strip, which is now ruled by Hamas. The Palestinian Authority rules parts of the West Bank, but overall control remains under the Israeli militarily.
Those are the regions known to Israelis as Judea and Samaria.
Ambassador Friedman has also lobbied for the State Department and the Trump administration to adopt the Israeli names of Judea and Samaria for those regions as opposed to the international names. So far, as expected, he’s met with resistance. Christians in Defense of Israel will be developing a strategy to urge the State Department to change that policy as well.
We will present our congratulatory card to Israeli officials on May 14th, the 70th birthday of the modern state of Israel, as marked by the secular calendar, and the date on which the American embassy opens in Jerusalem, Israel’s eternal capital.
By adding your name now to the “Happy 70th Anniversary” card you send a strong signal of support for the Jewish state. And that support has never been more needed.
As a friend of Israel, thank you in advance for joining with us.
God bless you. God bless Israel.
Mat Staver, President
Christians in Defense of Israel
P.S. Together, we are telling the people of Israel that WE STAND WITH THEM! Your greeting and that of thousands of others will be delivered to Israeli leaders on May 14–the 70th anniversary of the Jewish state. I urge you to join me in standing with Israel by clicking here to sign the “Happy 70th Anniversary” card celebrating Israel 70 years as a modern nation!