This isn’t the first time Friedman has been slammed by the Palestinian Authority: In March, Abbas called him a “son of a dog.”
Friedman Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90
On Wednesday, a senior aide to Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas called US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman a “terrorist settler.”
Mahmoud al-Habash’s criticism of the high-ranking US official came in response to a controversial photograph of Friedman, which surfaced yesterday. In the photograph, Friedman is seen posing next to a large poster of a digitally-edited picture of Jerusalem with the Third Temple in the place of the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque.
“The envoy to the state of the occupation has become the extremist father of extremism and racism,” al-Habash charged. “This is outrageous incitement by a biased and extremist diplomat and a clear call for religious terrorism. This is a dangerous precedent designed to spark conflicts.”
The photograph was published by the ultra-Orthodox website Kikar HaShabbat. According to reports, the photoshopped picture of Jerusalem was presented to the US envoy as a gift. He received it when he was visiting a special facility in Bnei Brak that aids children with learning disabilities.
The US Embassy in Jerusalem issued a statement in light of the Palestinian outrage: “Ambassador Friedman was not aware of the image thrust in front of him when the photo was taken. He was deeply disappointed that anyone would take advantage of his visit to Bnei Brak to create controversy. The US policy is absolutely clear: we support the status quo on the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount.”
Friedman is extremely unpopular among Palestinian officials due to his support for Israeli settlements in the West Bank. During a speech in March, Abbas criticized the Jewish envoy for legitimizing Israel’s settlements. “He said, ‘The Israelis are building on their own land,’” Abbas said, quoting Friedman. “Son of a dog! They’re building on their own land? He’s a settler himself and so is his whole family!”