United Nations watchdog warns firms operating on Israel settlements

Jerome Frank
September 30, 2017

Breaking with longstanding American policy, the USA ambassador to Israel sought to legitimize Jewish settlements in the West Bank and minimized the extent of the Israeli occupation.

A Palestinian opened fire at Israeli security personnel at the entrance to a West Bank settlement on Tuesday, killing three and wounding another before being shot dead, police said. Even if Friedman is merely referring to areas in the West Bank that are under the control of settlements, the figure is actually 10% and if he is referring to areas exclusively reserved to Israelis, which are no-go areas for Palestinians, the figure is 40%.

The Yesha Council, which represents settlers across the occupied West Bank, welcomed the ambassador's comments.

Friedman is a member of President Donald Trump's team spearheading efforts to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

In an expansive interview with Israeli media outlet Walla!

With regard to the first point, Friedman explained, "I think the settlements are part of Israel", which "was always the expectation when [UN] Resolution 242 was adopted". I mean, they're only occupying 2 percent of the West Bank. 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.

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"Ultimately a decision needs to be made: Is he the US Ambassador to Israel or is he part of the Israeli settlement enterprise?" she concluded.

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

Far from considering settlements to be part of Israel, American foreign policy has traditionally held that Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem is an obstacle to peace. "It isn't just a question of the connection to the homeland, but before all that, it isn't the way to make peace", he said, referring to Hamas exploitation of evacuated Israeli towns in Kush Katif to launch rockets against Israel.

"The idea was that Israel would be entitled to secure borders", he told Israeli Walla.

They were greeted by Friedman upon their arrival to Israel. According to long-held United States policy comporting with global law, all territory captured by Israel from Jordan in 1967 is occupied territory, under dispute, the permanent status of which will be determined in negotiations between Israel and the PLO, serving as representative of the Palestinian people.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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