Israel Policy Forum is alarmed by the Trump administration’s conscious decision in the State Department’s annual human rights report to refer to the West Bank as “under Israeli control” rather than “occupied” and the impact that it is already creating within Israel’s political system.

This is the second consecutive year in which the report seems to signal a shift in official American policy. In an environment in which Israeli politicians are increasingly and openly promising to begin the process of annexing the West Bank, such a change in language, with the potential shift in U.S. policy that it represents, threatens to send dangerous signals. Government ministers such as Naftali Bennett have latched onto the State Department language as providing a green light to extend Israeli sovereignty over the West Bank. Any move to do so would be catastrophic for Israeli security, devastating to a future two-state solution, and incalculably damaging to the health of the U.S.-Israel relationship.

We call upon President Trump and Secretary Pompeo to immediately clarify that the State Department report does not constitute an official change in U.S. policy regarding the West Bank’s status and to state unequivocally that the United States does not support unilateral Israeli annexation of any part of the West Bank.