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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Tuesday, January 23, 2018

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United States hardens stance against Palestinians

Ambassador: Israeli settlements are not an obstacle to peace

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TEL AVIV, Israel - The U.S. ambassador to Israel says Israeli settlements account for only 2% of the West Bank.

The ambassador, who previously referred to Israel's "alleged occupation" of the Palestinian territories, is now demanding the U.S. State Department stop using the word "occupation."

Ambassador David Friedman has previously said Israeli settlements are not an obstacle to peace.

The U.S. envoy's latest strategy has been revealed by Israel's government-owned Channel Kan.

Asked about the local television report, a spokesman for the U.S. State Department was quoted by The Jerusalem Post as saying: “The president is committed to facilitating a comprehensive peace agreement that will benefit both the Israelis and Palestinians and we remain hard at work on those efforts.” 

Ambassador Friedman however, says Israeli settlements in the West Bank are part of Israel, and the cities, towns and outposts account for less than 2% of the Palestinian territories.

His reference to the "alleged occupation" by Israel was made in an interview, details of which were published in The Jerusalem Post 3 months ago. 

Israeli human rights organization B'tselem, concedes settlements make up around 42% of the West Bank.

The U.S. State Department has previously confirmed that Area C, which Israel entirely controls makes up about 61% of the West Bank.

Earlier this year, Friedman referred to Israel's disengagement from Gaza as a "failed experiment," warning against the country taking out a similar project in the West Bank.

The U.S. ambassador has spent most of this week discussing possible sites for the U.S. embassy, which President Donald Trump has declared will be shifted to Jerusalem, which he says is Israel's eternal capital.

 

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