On Tuesday, the State Department released its annual report on global human rights practices, known as the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. In the first such report of the Biden administration, the US reaffirmed the recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights and the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
The Israel section of the report reads: “The United States recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in 2017 and Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights in 2019.”
It’s been obvious that President Biden has no intention of reversing the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. But when it comes to the Golan Heights, which was captured from Syria in 1967, the Biden administration has not been clear how it views the territory.
When asked about the Golan Heights in February, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, “Leaving aside the legalities of that question, as a practical matter, the Golan is very important to Israel’s security.”
Israeli media pointed out that the report referred to the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem as “occupied” territories, reversing the Trump administration’s move to drop the reference to occupation altogether from the report.
But the Biden administration’s report did not reverse all Trump-era changes. The Israel section was titled “Israel, West Bank, and Gaza.” Before Trump, the section was titled “Israel and the Occupied Territories.”