No, an American Diplomat Didn't Encourage Israel to Annex the West Bank

Clay Curtis
June 13, 2019

The army said the incident will be reviewed.

Since the injury he had been receiving treatment in Hebron (al-Khalil) in the occupied West Bank, it said.

His comments were widely interpreted as support for the current push by settlers for Israeli sovereignty to be applied to parts of the West Bank - despite the fact that Friedman insisted the USA doesn't have a stance on this possibility.

Palestinian officials did not attend a Middle East peace conference organized in Warsaw in February. Palestinians did not fire back, Quds said.

In an interview with The New York Times over the weekend, Friedman, a staunch supporter of Israeli settlement building, declined to say how Washington would respond if Israel moved to unilaterally annex West Bank land after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised to take the action in the run-up to April's nationwide elections.

The Palestine's Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying Friedman's statements "give proof that he was a threat to peace and security in the region". "In recent years", Cassif claimed, "U.S. intervention in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has only led to a worsening of the situation and prevented a just solution".

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"The administration's position on the settlements has not changed".

Both sides are "premature" with their reactions, former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Zalman Shoval told me on Tuesday, the morning after he happened to have chatted face-to-face with Friedman. In 2004, George W. Bush wrote to then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon that it is "unrealistic" to expect that a peace deal will remove Israel from all areas it gained in the Six-Day War.

Israeli forces attacked a Palestinian security headquarters in the city of Nablus. And he's also right that the United States is not opposed to Israel's holding on to at least some of the West Bank in the event of a theoretical peace agreement that the Palestinians clearly have no interest in negotiating, let alone signing.

Hagit Ofran of Peace Now rejects all efforts to play down Friedman's comments.

"When no one challenges statements about annexation, including the secretary of state. you can't help reach the conclusion that this is a fundamental reorientation in policy to basically undermine the traditional USA approach" of a two-state solution and "some reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians".

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