National Basketball Association apologizes after listing 'Palestine - occupied territory' on website


Israeli Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev sent a strongly-worded letter to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver demanding Palestine be removed from the list because it is "a country everyone knows does not exist" and its inclusion in the list "hurts" Israel. "I was surprised to discover that on the official website of the NBA... the state of "Palestine - Occupied Territory" was listed as one of the many countries to which basketball fans belong", she wrote.

Israel captured the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem in 1967.

The agreement, dubbed "Transboundary Cooperation Program in the Mediterranean Basin", aims to fund various multi-million-dollar projects in the Middle East - including in Israel and PA-controlled territory - for 14 European Union states, Israel National News reported on Thursday.

The NBA's President of Social Responsibility, Kathy Behrens, told Israel National News that country listings were provided by a third party. "We apologise for this oversight, and have corrected it", Behrens said in a statement. Israel claims the whole city as its capital, the newspaper said.

Trump sparked outrage across the Muslim world with his controversial December 6 recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. The worldwide community does not recognize Israel's control of the territory as legal under global law, stating that the city's status must be decided through negotiations.

Commentators have pointed out that the site was not incorrect in the first place.

Regev thanked Silver on Friday for the removal.

"This week, US Ambassador Friedman called for the cessation of the use of the term "occupied" in regard to Judea and Samaria, and an important sports league such as the National Basketball Association should respect this view", said Hotovely.

He reportedly asked the State Department last week to stop referring to the West Bank as "occupied", a request the department allegedly refused, according to Israeli broadcaster Kan.

According to the Jerusalem Post, Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said that politics should not be mixed with sport.

The U.N. along with most of the worldwide community considers the West Bank and east Jerusalem, areas Israel captured in the 1967 war that the Palestinians claim for a future state, as occupied territory.