Monday, October 26, 2020

US Ambassador says Israel has right to annex ‘some’ of the West Bank

By F.T Hupsel - June 13, 2019
Section: [Main News]

In an interview published by the New York Times on Saturday, 8 June, the US ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, declared that some degree of annexing the West Bank would be legitimate.

“Under certain circumstances, I think Israel has the right to retain some, but unlikely all, of the West Bank,” he said.

Friedman's comments evoked strong reactions from Palestinian politicians.

In a press statement on Sunday, the Palestinian ministry condemned Friedman's remarks, describing him as "a threat to regional peace and security".

The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is considering filing a complaint against Friedman at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, Saeb Erekat, said Friedman’s words indicate the true ideals of Trump administration’s for the region, which is actually about endorsing the annexation of the occupied territory.

'’That is not the path to peace, that is the road to an endless conflict," said Erakat on Twitter.

A US State Department official stated that the administration position on settlements has not changed and “no plan for unilateral annexation by Israel of any portion of the West Bank” has been presented by Israel to the US, as reported by Haaretz.

Earlier this year, during the campaign for the first general election in April, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, pledged his intentions of annexing illegal Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Such a development thwarts any chance of lasting peace and a two-state solution, which the US has previously declared to support.

Regarding Trump’s current "Deal of the Century", Palestinians have rejected the proposal before it has even been revealed, following the conclusion that it represents an entirely biased agreement towards Israel’s interests.

“The plan doesn’t give justice to the Palestinians’’, a senior Palestinian official told Reuters.

The US plans to lay out an economic component on June 25 and 26 in the Bahrain conference, where together with Gulf Arab states, they will make pledges to develop the Palestinian economy.

The Palestinian Authority leadership has called on Palestinians and Arabs to boycott the Bahrain conference.

Friedman also told the Times, that Trump's plan was aimed at enhancing the quality of life for Palestinians but would be improbable to enable a “permanent resolution to the conflict.’’

Friedman also blamed the Palestinian Authority for the current stalemate in the peace process with Israel.

The most important political aspects of the plan, which is expected to avoid calling for the creation of a Palestinian state, are still not clear.

When the plan was first announced, Special US Envoy, Jason Greenblatt, said that "there is no reason to use the term 'two-state solution,'" the reason being that, "every side sees it differently."

The establishment of a Palestinian state in territories that Israel occupied in the Six-Day War of 1967, has been one of the major unaddressed factors of all past Middle East peace plans.

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