Thursday, December 13, 2018

US Ambassador to Israel says there is “no need” to evacuate settlements


By Naomi Kundera - August 25, 2018
TAGS:
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [settlements] [US foreign policy]

David Friedman, United States (US) Ambassador to Israel, said there is “no reason to evacuate settlements” in a meeting with settler leaders last week, according to Times of Israel.

At the meeting, Friedman met with MK Yehudah Glick, Har Hebron regional Chairman Yochai Damari, and Palestinian businessman Muhammad Nasser to discuss a prospective Israeli-Palestinian “economic venture” ahead of the US proposed peace plan.
 
Glick and Damari presented a plan to introduce a new Israeli industrial zone in the southern West Bank that will “employ thousands of Palestinian workers” as well construct a new medical center to treat both Palestinians and Israelis living in the West Bank.
 
Damari and Glick both released statements regarding the proposed economic venture to be an avenue for peace as it would “make redundant the discourse of concessions.”
 
They both assert that Palestinian and “Israeli communities” in the West Bank aren’t going anywhere, so cooperation through joint-economic ventures is a way they can “learn to live together.”
 
US envoys have also explicitly stated their support of economic cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians as a way for peace and that “reality” of settlements staying in existence.
 
The Israeli leaders at this meeting sought US support for the economic plan. Glick claimed that Friedman would be “happy to assist in advancing things” as soon as facts are on the ground.
 
Friedman is a known supporter of illegal settlements. In May of this year it was revealed that Friedman served as the president of a pro-settlement organization American Friends of Bet El Yeshiva.
 
During his presidency, Friends of Bet El Yeshiva donated up to $93,000 USD to the far-right group Komemiut whose sole purpose is the pursuit of turning Israel into a Jewish-only state and seeks to end “secular institutions” like the media and the courts.
 
Also in May of this year, Friedman was seen posing with a poster in which Al Aqsa mosque and Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem were replaced with a Jewish temple. The controversial photograph was denounced by many Palestinian and Muslim leaders
 
Friedman’s support of settlements has continued into his position as Ambassador and he has claimed that settlements are a “part of Israel.”
 
However, the US State Department Spokesperson, Heather Nauert, warned that Friedman’s statements are not a reflection of official US policy.
 
The spokesperson for the US embassy in Israel declined to comment to Times of Israel in relation to his most recent comments at last week’s meeting. 
 
Lead image: David Friedman stands with an image depicting the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem replaced with a Jewish Temple.

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