US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman has said Israel has the right to annex at least some of the occupied West Bank reiterating similar remarks made earlier by US President Donald Trump.
As Reported by Qods News Agency (Qodsna) "Under certain circumstances, I think Israel has the right to retain some, but unlikely all, of the West Bank," Friedman said in an interview published by the New York Times on Saturday.
Friedman then accused the Obama administration of a “flagrant violation” of international law for allowing passage of a United Nations resolution in 2016 that condemned Israeli settlements, claiming the UN resolution gave the right to Palestinians.
Back then outgoing US President Barack Obama had admitted that the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories and the settlements built in the areas posed an obstacle to the Middle East peace efforts.
Friedman’s latest comments come ahead of a US conference in Bahrain later this month in which Trump’s “Deal of the century” for peace in the Middle East is to be unveiled.
In the interview, Friedman also accused Palestinian leaders, who view Trump’s deal as a biased effort to sell out their rights, of wrongheadedly using “massive pressure” to dissuade participants from attending the
Bahrain conference that the Trump administration is organizing.
Palestinians see the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.
Israelis, however, insists on maintaining the occupation of Palestinian territories.
Earlier this year, Trump recognized the Israeli regime's "sovereignty" over the Golan Heights, a Syrian territory under Israeli occupation since 1967.
In December 2017, Trump's recognized Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel's so-called capital.
Palestinians condemn Friedman’s remarks
Palestinian leaders reacted to Friedman’s comments saying the US ambassador has become a spokesperson for the Israeli regime.
“Friedman has become the mouthpiece for racism and the Israeli apartheid system, instead of being the US ambassador,” said the spokesman for the West Bank-based Fatah party, Usameh al-Ghawasimi.
He slammed the Friedman remarks, saying he was trying to mislead the truth and violate international law.
“Friedman's remarks violate the foundations agreed upon for the creation of an independent Palestinian state and international and regional peace and stability,” he added.
Ghawasimi noted that Friedman did not represent the US Constitution and American values which support justice and democracy, and instead he represented hatred, racism and infringement on the rights of the Palestinian people.
He called the Israeli settlements illegal and contrary to international law, adding that Friedman’s attempts to justify the settlement construction go in line with the conspiracy against the Palestinian people included within the "Deal of the Century "and the conference scheduled to be held in Bahrain.
“With friends like US Ambassador Friedman, who needs enemies,” asked Israeli rights group Peace Now, adding, “Such a move would fundamentally undermine Israeli interests, as Palestinians in favor of a two-state solution lose all credibility.”