Newspapers Review: Dailies highlight controversial statements by USA ambassador to Israel

Javier Howell
October 1, 2017

Friedman, Trump's former bankruptcy attorney, was appointed ambassador earlier this year, a move that was opposed by Democrats and some Jewish groups because of donations to Israeli settlements, opposition to Palestinian statehood and vocal support for hard-line Israeli government positions.

Marking the 50th anniversary of Israel's resettlement of the biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria, US Ambassador David Friedman told the Walla news portal that the "settlements are part of Israel".

US President Donald Trump is seeking to restart frozen peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

The Trump State Department's reaction was both swift and harsh.

The attack, which came as U.S. envoy Jason Greenblatt was due in occupied Jerusalem for talks on relaunching the moribund Middle East peace process, drew condemnation from Israeli officials who called for action from the Palestinian leadership.

"So there was always supposed to be some notion of expansion into the West Bank, but not necessarily expansion into the entire West Bank", he continued. I mean, they're only occupying two per cent of the West Bank.

"Thus, today's interview merely confirms that there is no difference between David Friedman as ambassador and David Friedman the flame-throwing pundit for Israel's extremist, far-right settler news site, Arutz 7".

Global law views the West Bank and East Jerusalem as occupied territories and considers all Jewish settlement-building activity there as illegal.

UN Resolution 242, adopted in the aftermath of the Six-Day War, called for Israel to withdraw from the territories it occupied in 1967 in exchange for security guarantees with Arab neighbors.

"The idea was that Israel would be entitled to secure borders", he added.

The illegal construction of Israeli settlements on Palestinian lands serves as the major obstacle to a peaceful two-state settlement of the decade's long conflict.

While the figure of 2% has been used in the past by Israeli officials to define occupation as the physical footprint of settlement buildings, "area C" - the part of the West Bank under Israeli administrative and security control - accounts for 60% of the West Bank.

"I don't know where that came from", Nauert said about Friedman's "2 percent" assessment.

Other reports by Insurance News

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