Israel occupies 'just 2 percent' of West Bank, says USA ambassador

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Israel occupies 'just 2 percent' of West Bank, says USA ambassador

Friedman referred to the "important nationalistic, historical, and religious significance" of these communities, commenting, "I think the settlers view themselves as Israelis, and Israel views the settlers as Israelis".

In a statement released after Netanyahu gave a speech at an event entitled "50 years of settlement in Judea and Samaria", using the Israeli term for the occupied West Bank.

Calling for Friedman to be held accountable, Ashrawi stated: "If the US Administration is truly committed to peace, it will hold its Ambassador accountable for his consistently outrageous and morally repugnant attitude, actions and statements". I mean, they're only occupying 2 percent of the West Bank.

According to the 1994 internationally recognized deal establishing the Palestinian Authority, Israel maintains full military and civilian control of 60% of the West Bank in addition to military control over another 22% of the area and full control of its borders.

"I think the settlements are part of Israel", he told Walla.

President Mahmoud Abbas
President Mahmoud Abbas

He said Friedman's latest comment was "not only false and misleading but contradicts global law, United Nations resolutions, and also the historical U.S. position".

Friedman is a member of President Donald Trump's team spearheading efforts to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman during an interview with Walla News on September 28, 2017.

A Palestinian opened fire at Israeli security personnel at the entrance to a West Bank settlement where he had worked, killing three and wounding another before being shot dead. Spokesperson Heather Nauert told reporters that the ambassador's comments should "not be read as a shift in United States policy". Friedman added, "The 1967 borders were viewed by everybody as not secure".

"Thus, today's interview merely confirms that there is no difference between David Friedman as ambassador and David Friedman the flame-throwing pundit for Israel's extremist, far-right settler news site, Arutz 7". "It isn't just a question of the connection to the homeland, but before all that, it isn't the way to make peace", he said, referring to Hamas exploitation of evacuated Israeli towns in Kush Katif to launch rockets against Israel.

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