(AA) – The U.S. has considered the West Bank as “occupied territory” for a long time, the State Department said Tuesday.
When asked if “occupied territory” is the term to be used for the existence of Israelis in the West Bank, department spokeswoman Jen Psaki responded by saying, “It’s been a longstanding position of the United States government that these are occupied territories.”
Psaki’s comments come on the hells of remarks by White House chief of staff Denis McDonough who on Monday addressed J Street, an Israeli advocacy group that is often critical of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“An occupation that has lasted for almost 50 years must end, and the Palestinian people must have the right to live in and govern themselves in their own sovereign state,” he said.
The comments come amid tensions over Netanyahu’s pre-election declaration that he would not allow the creation of a Palestinian state if he were re-elected.
The Israeli prime minster was harshly criticized by the Obama administration although Netanyahu later backtracked on his comments and said he still wanted “a sustainable, peaceful two-state solution.”
Obama said Tuesday that the U.S. will reevaluate it’s relations with the Israeli government regarding the Palestine conflict.
“We take him at his word when he said that it (creation of a Palestinian state) wouldn’t happen during his prime ministership, and so that’s why we’ve got to evaluate what other options are available,” he said.