Settlers hail U.S. ambassador for saying settlements part of Israel

Israel, which annexed East Jerusalem after the 1967 Six Day War, and does not regard construction there as part of the settlement enterprise, has never claimed sovereignty in the West Bank.

Speaking to the Israeli website, he said: "I think the settlements are part of Israel".

U.S. President Donald Trump is seeking to restart frozen Israel-Palestinian peace negotiations.

Americans for Peace Now called on Trump to recall Friedman for making statements that "blatantly contradict long-held United States policy".


Responding to Friedman, a Palestinian official said to The Guardian that "Israel occupies 100% of the West Bank" and that if he were "a USA citizen I would be extremely concerned that my ambassador in Israel is using his position to try to emphasize the importance of settlements to Israel".

Breaking with longstanding American policy, the US ambassador to Israel sought to legitimize Jewish settlements in the West Bank and minimized the extent of the Israeli occupation.

"I think that was always the expectation when resolution 242 was adopted in 1967", he said, referring to the United Nations security council resolution made at the end of the six-day war, when Israeli forces occupied the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

"So there was always supposed to be some notion of expansion into the West Bank, but not necessarily expansion into the entire West Bank".


The US' ambassador to Israel has been admonished by Washington DC for giving an interview in which he suggested that only two per cent of land in the West Bank is occupied by Israel. He said in a statement that "such positions undermine ongoing efforts toward achieving a just and lasting peace between Israel and Palestine", based on 1967 borders. And I think that's exactly what, you know, Israel has done. He said that "she loves Israel, we all love Israel. I mean, they're only occupying 2 percent of the West Bank", Friedman told Walla.

"His latest statement about Israel "occupying only 2% of the West Bank"... is not only false and misleading but contradict [s] worldwide law, United Nations resolutions and also the historical USA position", Erekat said, adding that "Israel is internationally recognized as the occupying power over 100% of Palestine". "We're trying to get it done right, not done fast".

The two sides also broke contacts after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah movement, which controls the West Bank, forged an unexpected pact with Hamas on the governance of the Gaza Strip earlier this month.



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