The United States on Wednesday voiced disagreement with Human Rights Watch's allegation that Israel is committing "apartheid" against the Palestinians but said it was committed to condemning abuses.
"It is not the view of this administration that Israel's actions constitute apartheid," a State Department spokesperson said.
U.S. President Joe Biden's State Department, however, said it would not "offer public evaluations of reports by outside groups" -- a shift from Donald Trump's administration which loudly berated advocacy groups that criticized Israel.
The spokesperson renewed a call on both Israel and the Palestinians to "refrain from unilateral actions that exacerbate tensions" including settlement activity and incitement to violence.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) in a report Tuesday said that Israel is "committing the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution," saying Israel had an "overarching" policy to "maintain the domination of Jewish Israelis over Palestinians."
Israel, which is facing an investigation at the International Criminal Court opposed by the United States, denounced the report and accused the New York-based group of having an anti-Israel agenda.
The Foreign Ministry rejected the claims as "both preposterous and false" and accused HRW of harboring an "anti-Israeli agenda," saying the group had sought "for years to promote boycotts against Israel".
Gilad Erdan, Israel's ambassador to the United States, said the report was full of "lies and fabrication" that were "bordering on anti-Semitic."