During a recent interview with the New York Times, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said, “I think Israel has the right to retain some, but unlikely all, of the West Bank.”
Israel’s Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan praised the courage that Ambassador Friedman showed.
“The worldview of the Trump administration, expressed by ambassador Friedman, is the only one that might produce change and make the Palestinians realize that boycotting Israel and the US will get them nowhere,” he said.
After the statements of the US ambassador, the State Department wanted to calm things down by issuing a short statement saying that the US position regarding Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria has not changed.
Needless to say, the US Ambassador’s remarks provoked the PA. Saeb Erekat, secretary-general of the PLO’s executive committee, said that Friedman made very clear the vision he shares with U.S. President Donald Trump, and that “annexation of occupied territory is a war crime according to international law”.
The PA is considering filing a complaint at the International Criminal Court against Friedman.
Friedman is extremely unpopular among Palestinian, to say the least. During a speech last 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!”