US Envoy: Israel Has ‘Right’ to Annex West Bank Land

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman. (Photo: File)

The US ambassador has said Israel has the right to annex at least “some” of the occupied West Bank, in comments likely to deepen Palestinian opposition to a long-awaited US peace plan.

The Palestinians have rejected the peace plan before it has even been unveiled, citing a string of moves by US President Donald Trump that they say show his administration is irredeemably biased.

The Palestinians are likely to see the recent comments by the US ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, as a new nail in the coffin of a peace process that is already on life support.

In an interview published by the New York Times on Saturday, Friedman said some degree of annexation of the West Bank would be legitimate.

He said:

“Under certain circumstances, I think Israel has the right to retain some, but unlikely all, of the West Bank.”

Senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat said any such policy would be tantamount to “US complicity with Israeli colonial plans”.

Responding to the US envoy’s remarks, Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) executive member Hanan Ashrawi said the US was justifying land theft, Al Jazeera’s Nida Ibrahim reported from Ramallah.

Ibrahim said:

“We’ve also heard from a statement by Fatah, the ruling party in the West Bank, which said that they don’t know if the US ambassador is representing the view of Israeli settlers or that of the US administration.”

Following the persistent expansion of the settlements by successive Netanyahu governments, more than 600,000 Jewish settlers now live in the West Bank, including annexed East Jerusalem, among some three million Palestinians.

The international community regards the settlements as illegal and the biggest obstacle to peace.

(Al Jazeera, PC, Social Media)

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