Friedman says Israeli expansion into W.Bank was 'always an expected notion'

Katrina Barker
Сентября 29, 2017

The Zionist official, who requested to stay anonymous due to the sensitivity of the issue, noted that the letters, sent by Al Hussein, said these firms were doing business in the "occupied Palestinian territories" and could thus find themselves on the United Nations blacklist for companies acting in violation of "internal law and United Nations decisions".

Friedman, Trump's former bankruptcy attorney, was appointed ambassador earlier this year, a move that was opposed by Democrats and some Jewish groups because of donations to Israeli settlements, opposition to Palestinian statehood and vocal support for hard-line Israeli government positions. And I think that's exactly what, you know, Israel has done.

While the figure of 2% has been used in the past by Israeli officials to define occupation as the physical footprint of settlement buildings, "area C" - the part of the West Bank under Israeli administrative and security control - accounts for 60% of the West Bank.

UN Human Rights Commissioner Zeid bin Ra'ad Zeid al-Hussein has warned scores of Israeli and foreign companies about their operations in Israel's illegal West Bank settlements, Israeli daily Haaretz reported late Wednesday.

In the interview, Friedman also expressed sympathy to the idea of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, stating that the Jewish settlements have "important nationalistic, historical, religious significance".

"The existing borders, the 1967 borders, were viewed by everybody as not secure, so Israel would retain a meaningful portion of the West Bank, and it would return that which it didn't need for peace and security", according to Friedman.

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The two-state solution, with an independent Palestinian state along side a secure Israel, has always been the preferred outcome of successive USA administrations, who have also been opposed to Israeli settlements.

When asked if some settlements would have to be given up in a potential peace deal between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Friedman only responded, "Wait and see".

"These companies can't make the distinction between Israel and the [illegal] settlements and are ending their operations all together", the Israeli official was quoted as saying. "We'll try and get it done right, not fast".

Another senior Palestinian official, Nabil Shaath, said Friedman "showed absolute ignorance of facts and laws".

Referring to the two-state solution, Friedman said the concept "has lost its meaning, or at least has a different meaning to different people".

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