US State Department Describes East Jerusalem Palestinians as ‘Non-Israeli Citizens’

US President Donald Trump (L) with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Photo: File)

The US State Department described East Jerusalem Palestinians as “Arab residents” or “non-Israeli citizens” in an annual global human rights report released on Wednesday, changing from the previously used “Palestinian residents” description.

In a report published last year, the State Department described East Jerusalem Palestinians as “Palestinian residents of Jerusalem” in sections on civil judicial procedures, discrimination, and freedom of movement, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

However, this year’s annual report has changed the term to “Arab residents” or “non-Israeli citizens” in those same sections.

The change in terminology prompted criticism from Palestinians, who have accused the Trump administration of being overtly favorable to Israel since the US recognized Jerusalem as the so-called capital of Israel.

“Palestinian Jerusalemites are Palestinians, and they’ve been living there for centuries,” said Hanan Ashrawi, a senior Palestine Liberation Organisation official who herself holds a Jerusalem residency permit.

“Just to decide this, to eradicate their identity and history and culture and rename them at will, is not only preposterous, it’s unconscionable,” Ashrawi said.

After unilaterally recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2017 and its annexation of the Golan from Syria in March 2019, Trump in late January 2020 unveiled a peace plan for the Middle East that included many concessions to Israel.

“US relations with Israel are not governed by the kind of political wisdom that is predicated on mutual benefit,” Palestinian journalist and editor of The Palestine Chronicle wrote in a recent article.

“But they are not entirely irrational either, as the American ruling classes have aligned their interests, their perception of the Middle East and their country’s role in that region with that of Israel, thanks to years of media and official indoctrination,” Baroud added.

(Palestine Chronicle, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, Social Media)

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