04:57 GMT20 January 2021
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    On Saturday US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman in an interview published in The New York Times, shared his views on the possibility of the annexation of the West Bank by Israel, saying that “under certain circumstances…Israel has the right to retain some, but unlikely all, of the West Bank.”

    Some Palestinians officials harshly denounced the US Ambassador to Israel, following those statements.

    Saeb Erekat secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) noted that David Friedman’s words emphasized the bias of the US President’s Administration in favour of Israel. He added that the decision by Palestinians to ignore an upcoming economic conference in Bahrain is justified, wrote The Israel Times.

    While reflecting on the Ambassador’s remarks, Erekat said that “Their vision is the annexation of occupied territory, a war crime under international law.”

    Another backlash came from the Party of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

    “The Palestinian leadership is committed to peace, but not at any price; to a just, comprehensive and lasting peace on the basis of international law, [UN] resolutions, and the principle of a two-state solution that Friedman is now avoiding,” the party said in a statement, according to The Times of Israel.

    Friedman’s words have gotten a harsh response from a variety of Israeli opposition parties.

    “Friedman is the US ambassador to the state of Israel, not the US ambassador to the settlements, and he should know that annexation would be a disaster for Israel,” Israeli Meretz party leader Tamar Zandberg wrote in Twitter as cited by The Times of Israel.

    Hadash-Ta’al party leader Ayman Odeh has also turned to Twitter where he sent a message to US President Donald Trump, whom he called “the Orange Man in the Oval Office” in the Hebrew version of a tweet.

    In April Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that he was going to extend Israeli sovereignty over settlements in the occupied West Bank territories if he wins another term in the 9 April elections.

    For decades, Israel has been in conflict with Palestinians, who seek diplomatic recognition for their independent state on the territories of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.  The Israeli government, along with a number of other countries, refuses to recognise Palestine as an independent political and diplomatic entity.

    READ MORE: Israel 'Has the Right' to Retain Parts of the West Bank, US Envoy Says

    The situation worsened in May 2018 after the United States relocated its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and recognized the holy city as the Israeli capital. After that, Palestinians rejected Washington’s unilateral mediation efforts in the peace process with Israel.


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    West Bank, statement, ambassador, Israel, PLO
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