US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman has once again publicly contradicted official US policy on Thursday, declaring that the settlements in the West Bank are a permanent part of Israel, and falsely claiming that Israel only occupies some 2% of the overall West Bank.
Legally speaking, Israel occupies 100% of the West Bank, though as a practical matter deals with the Palestinian Authority ceding some security control in certain areas has the EU estimating about 60% of the West Bank under direct military occupation.
It’s not clear where the 2% claim originated
Friedman is known as an outspoken supporter of the settlements, but the 2% figure is just a flat-out lie, and a blatant one. This also marked the second time in his short time as an ambassador that the State Department has felt the need to publicly rebuke him.
State Department officials were quick to insist that US policy is that the settlements are not part of Israel and that this has not changed.
They added nothing Friedman says should be viewed as a change of any US positions.
Top photo | David Friedman, Ambassador to Israel, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.(AP/Susan Walsh)
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