State Dept. Spokesman Ned Price: 'Is the West Bank occupied? Yes'

At daily briefing, State Dept. spokesman reiterates: US believes Judea and Samaria are 'occupied.'

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Ned Price
Ned Price

US State Department spokesman Ned Price has said that Israel's "occupation" of Judea and Samaria is a "historical fact."

At a daily briefing, Price said: "It is a historical fact that Israel occupied the West Bank, Gaza, and the Golan Heights after the 1967 war. That’s precisely why the 2020 Human Rights Report uses that term in the current context of the West Bank. It has been the longstanding position of previous administrations of both parties over the course of many decades."

"Do we think that the West Bank is occupied? Yes," he added.

Asked if settlement activity in Judea and Samaria or construction in eastern Jerusalem hurts prospects for a two-state solution, Price said: "We believe when it comes to settlement activity that Israel should refrain from unilateral steps that exacerbate tensions and that undercut efforts to advance a negotiated two-state solution. That includes the annexation of territory. That includes settlement activity."

"We’ve been equally clear when it comes to the potential actions of the Palestinians," Price added, "whether that is incitement to violence, providing compensation for individuals in prison for acts of terrorism. That, too, moves us further away from a two-state solution. Our goal in all of this is to advance the prospects for that two-state solution."

On Tuesday, the US State Department published its annual report on human rights violations, referring to Judea, Samaria, Gaza, eastern Jerusalem and the Golan Heights as territories "occupied" by Israel.

The report did not, however, title the chapter "Israel and the Occupied Territories."

The title “Israel and the Occupied Territories” was the title used by the State Department until the Trump administration changed the custom, after President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and also recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

The 2020 report, which is the first to be released during the Biden administration, uses the label "Israel, the West Bank and Gaza" - the same chapter name from the last two reports issued during the Trump administration.