Days of Palestine

Wednesday, February 1

Friedman asks US State Department to stop calling West Bank ‘occupied’

Days of Palestine -

US Ambassador to Israeli occupation David Friedman has asked US State Department to stop using the term “occupied” in official documents referring to Israeli occupation of West Bank.

Friedman and the State Department agreed that the issue will be discussed again and the US President Donald Trump will have the final say.

In September, Friedman told an Israeli news outlet: “I think the settlements are part of Israel. I think that was always the expectation.”

He added: “Obviously, there are important security considerations to those settlements, there is 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.”

Before taking up his post as ambassador, Friedman served as president of American Friends of Bet El Institutions, an organisation that supports the large West Bank settlement near Ramallah, and he has a long history of excoriating groups who criticise Israel’s settlement policy.

Friedman’s directive came weeks after Trump shifted decades of US policy and recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on December 6.

In an address from the White House, Trump defied worldwide warnings and insisted that after repeated failures to achieve peace, a new approach was long overdue. He described his decision to recognise Jerusalem as the seat of Israel’s government as merely based on reality.