US envoy David Friedman to the NYT: Israel has ‘right’ to annex West Bank land

David Friedman tells the New York Times that Jewish state entitled to 'retain some, but unlikely all' of territory captured in 1967 Six-Day War; Palestinians respond: "US ambassador Netanyahu's spokesman and settlers"  
In an interview to the New York Times published on Saturday, US Ambassador David Friedman said that some degree of the annexation of the West Bank would be legitimate.”Israel has the right to annex at least part of the West Bank, but it is unlikely that all of them,” said US Ambassador David Friedman. “In certain circumstances, I think that Israel is entitled to preserve part of the West Bank.”

In an extensive interview held last week in Jerusalem, he also claimed that the Palestinian leaders were wrong to exert “massive pressure” to deter business leaders from participating in an economic workshop organized by the Trump government this month in Bahrain. The American ambassador also noted that the long-awaited Trump peace plan was intended to improve the quality of life of the Palestinians, but is unlikely to lead quickly to a “permanent solution to the conflict.”

“It is not fair that the Palestinians described it as a bribe or as an attempt to buy their national aspirations,” added the US ambassador, “it’s not an attempt to give life to their aspirations by creating a sustainable economy.”

He added that “there is hardly a Palestinian businessman who wants to avoid meeting with some of the world’s largest capital funds when the subject of the discussion is giving money to the Palestinians, and I know first hand that they want to come.”

His words correspond with those of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who promised to annex settlement points in Judea and Samaria during the last election campaign, at the end of which he failed to form a government.

Regarding this, David Friedmann refused to say how his country would respond if Netanyahu decided to do so unilaterally. “We really have no opinion on the matter until we understand what conditions it will be, whether it makes sense, why it is good for Israel and the region, and whether it will create more problems than solutions,” the US diplomat said. “These are things that we want to understand, and I do not want to judge in advance.”

Peace Now responded by saying: “Ambassador David Friedman is a Trojan horse on behalf of the settler right that sabotages Israel’s interests and the chance for peace.” Friedman’s extreme and irresponsible remarks, just before the publication of President Trump’s peace plan, leave no room for doubt. He intends to serve as an honest broker, to order Friedmann to pack his bags tonight. ”

The movement added that “with friends like David Friedman, who needs enemies?” Anyone who understands that annexing the West Bank will lead the region to disaster while posing a real threat to Israel’s existence as a Jewish and democratic state. Trump. ”

Meretz Chairman MK Tamar Zandberg: “As long as Friedmann is the US ambassador to Israel and not to the state of the settlements. He must know that annexation is a disaster for the State of Israel. The ambassador is not here to help sow the extremist and messianic settlements, which works to thwart any possibility of a life of peace and security and without occupation. Peace is in the interest of Israelis and Palestinians living here, even if the American administration decided to serve the extreme right only. ”

The Palestinians react

PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat slammed Friedman and said that “Trump’s ambassador proves why we should not attend a conference in Bahrain, and his vision is to annex occupied territories, which constitutes a war crime under international law.”

Fatah spokesman Osama Qawasmeh said that “Friedman has positioned himself as the spokesman for racism and the Israeli apartheid regime. Instead of fulfilling his role as US ambassador to Israel, he continues to show hostility toward the Palestinian people, turns reality into a violation of international law, and his statements are racist and contrary to international law. ”

Qawasmeh added that “the establishment of a Palestinian state is an important need for international peace and stability, and we are not a people that violate the law, but rather has a right to land, history, and culture.” Friedman does not represent the values, morality, and constitution of the American people. He represents the hatred, racism, and violation of the rights of the Palestinian people, and protects the greatest human rights violator in history and the world, the Israeli occupation state. ”

According to Qawasmeh, “all colonialist settlements, without exception, violate international law and constitute continuing aggression against our people.” Friedman’s excuse for annexing us to the Israeli entity is further recognition of the content and complex of the ” Our position towards it. ”

The secretary-general of the Palestinian National Initiative, Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, said that “the declarations made by the American ambassador to Israel regarding Israel’s right to annex captured Palestinian land and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state are outrageous, worthless and constitute aggression against international law. They did not surprise us, because Friedman became the spokesman for Netanyahu and the extremist Israeli settlers, and his statements reveal the false claims of the organizers of the 100th deal, which was rejected by the Palestinians and the Arab states. ”

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