- Israel ‘Has the Right’ to Annex Parts of the West Bank, U.S. Ambassador Says
In a New York Times interview, David Friedman blames Palestinian leadership for failure to achieve peace.
Israel has the right to annex parts of the West Bank, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman told the New York Times in an interview published Saturday, drawing harsh criticism from Palestinian leaders ahead of the publication of a part of the administration’s contensted Middle East peace proposal.
“Under certain circumstances, I think Israel has the right to retain some, but unlikely all, of the West Bank,” he said. The comment follows Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s April electionpromise to annex the territory, which Israel has maintained control over since it was conquered from Jordan in the 1967 Six Day War.
According to Friedman, Israel would also need to keep boots on the ground in the West Bank even after peace is achieved, comparing a future Israel Defense Forces presence in Palestinian territories to American bases in Japan, Korea and Germany.
A State Department official said later on Saturday that “The administration position on settlements has not changed,” stressing that “no plan for unilateral annexation by Israel of any portion of the West Bank has been presented by Israel to the U.S. nor is it under discussion.”