The change was first spotted by journalist Aaron Magid and reported in a tweet that the State Department “has removed Palestinians completely from the Middle East. It used to be Palestinian territories or the Palestinian Authority. Now, Palestinians don’t exist.”
Just noticed this: @StateDept has removed Palestinians completely from the Middle East. It used to be Palestinian territories or the Palestinian Authority. Now, Palestinians don’t exist https://t.co/zCGNfuaizy pic.twitter.com/n59IMwTwHZ
— Aaron Magid (@AaronMagid) August 23, 2019
Here is the revised US State Department website showing the countries and areas where the State Department is involved, with no mention of “Palestine” or the “Palestinians.”
Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) secretary-general Saeb Erekat complained on Twitter that removing Palestine from the US State Department’s website was part of Trump’s policy of “advancing the agenda” of Israeli settlers in Judea and Samaria.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s spokesman said the removal “comes in the context of desperate attempts to wipe out the Palestinian cause and people.” He said that excluding “Palestine” from a US government’s official platform “reflects the content of the so-called American Deal of the Century,” referring to the yet to be unveiled US regional peace proposal.
In March of this year, the State Department for the first time referred to the Golan Heights as “Israeli-controlled” in its annual report, and also dropped the word “occupied” in reference to the Palestinian territories. Later that month, Trump announced an official US recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
US administration officials are also shying away from talking about a Palestinian state as an outcome of peace negotiations. The Palestinians have ceased all cooperation with Trump after he recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2017.
The Trump administration has stopped all financial support to the Palestinians, which totaled about $400 million a year.