Settlers hail USA ambassador for saying settlements part of Israel

Israel Schießerei in der jüdischen Siedlung Har Adar

Israel Schießerei in der jüdischen Siedlung Har Adar

The Palestinians, for their part, want these areas - along with the Gaza Strip - for the establishment of a future state of Palestine.

"Obviously, there is important security considerations to those settlements, there's important nationalistic, historical and religious significance to those settlements and I think the settlers view themselves as Israelis, and Israel views the settlers as Israelis", Friedman said.

Friedman is a member of President Donald Trump's team spearheading efforts to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Trump has indirectly endorsed the construction of Israeli settlements and has even hinted that Washington might consider moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem; foreign policy moves that might impede the realisation of a two-state solution.

In excerpts published from an interview with Israeli website Walla!News, Friedman claimed that Israel is "only occupying 2 percent of the West Bank". Spokesperson Heather Nauert said on Thursday that Mr Friedman's comments should "not be read as a shift in U.S. policy".

According to estimates by the European Union and NGOs across the spectrum, Israel occupies around 60 percent of the West Bank including both settlements and closed military areas. "There was always supposed to be some expectation of [Israeli] expansion" into Judea and Samaria. And I think that's exactly what ...

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They added nothing Friedman says should be viewed as a change of any United States positions.

"Then we have Friedman's repetition of the canard, a common talking point of settler apologists, that Israel occupies only 2% of the West Bank". Friedman further asserted that Israel is "only occupying two percent of the West Bank".

A Palestinian opened fire at Israeli security personnel at the entrance to a West Bank settlement where he had worked, killing three and wounding another before being shot dead.

Friedman, however, seemed to have misinterpreted the meaning of the resolution, saying the "idea was that Israel would be entitled to secure borders".

Nevertheless, roughly 500,000 Israelis now live on more than 100 Jewish-only settlements built on these territories since 1967. "I want to be crystal clear". But as Friedman must know, Israel's control of the West Bank - geographically, topographically, politically, economically, and in any other way imaginable - can not be dwarfed into his two-percent figure.

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