By Elias Khoury, ADC Summer 2019 Intern
Recently, the State Department removed any mention of Palestine from its list of Near East Countries & Areas. This specific erasure is unprecedented, as past administrations, at the very least, acknowledged the reality of Palestine’s existence. One can look to the State Department website during the Obama administration, which had listed the “Palestinian Territories,” referring to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
The attempt to erase Palestine from ostensibly diplomatic discourse is just another data point in the growing trend of a Trump foreign policy that has only served to further engulf the Middle East in flames. In denying the objective reality of Palestine — and, thereby, the humanity of the Palestinian people — the Trump administration is, once again, giving in to the most extreme fringes of pro-Israel thought. By acting as though Palestine does not even exist, the State Department is providing cover for the most radical zealots and colonizers who wish to extinguish Palestine and its people.
For a world superpower like the United States to routinely violate the sanctity of indigenous lives at home and overseas in this way, is to denigrate any and all meaningful conceptions of justice and liberty. By refusing to so much as make note of Palestine, the Trump administration is offering a full-throated endorsement of the military occupation, the sustained campaign of ethnic cleansing, and the systematic denial of human rights currently being carried out by the Israeli Likud government against native Palestinian people. The State Department is seeking to silence the Palestinian cause by denying that there even is a Palestine.
The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) totally condemns this horribly unjust move, and maintains that a pathway to peace in the region can only be attained through fully upholding the dignity, rights, and humanity of the Palestinians. This would include acknowledging the existence and territorial integrity of the place they call home. We call upon the State Department to hear our appeal and reverse the removal of Palestine from its list of countries.