Hadash lashed out at the US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, on Saturday, June 8, after the New York Times published an interview with him in which he said that Israel has a right to annex parts of the occupied West Bank. “Under certain circumstances, I think Israel has the right to retain some, but unlikely all, of the West Bank,” Friedman told the New York Times.
During his campaign leading up to last April’s general elections, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged to gradually annex all West Bank Jewish settlements; a move long supported by nearly all lawmakers in his alliance of right wing and religious parties, and said he hoped to do so with US support.
In response to Friedman’s published comments, Hadash-Ta’al parliamentary faction leader MK Ayman Odeh tweeted: “Ambassador Friedman, former President of US friends of the Beth El Settlement Yeshiva, here is a message for President Trump, the orange man in the Oval Office: The only solution that will promise a secure and dignified life for both nations is the end of the occupation and a Palestinian state alongside Israel. Annexation is a war crime.”
Hadash MK Ofer Cassif expressed outrage at Friedman’s remarks. “Neither the government of Israel nor the US administration can hide the truth – the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem are occupied Palestinian territories that will be released and lawfully returned to their owners as part of a just peace deal.”
On Sunday, June 9, Peace Now called on Trump to fire Friedman. “Ambassador Friedman is a Trojan horse sent by the settler right, which sabotages Israel’s interests and the chance for peace. The residents of the region, not Friedman or Trump, will pay the price. The US president, if he means to serve as a fair mediator, ought to send Friedman packing this evening.”
Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization and a top Palestinian negotiator, said Friedman’s remarks proved that Trump’s administration is heavily biased in favor of Israel and that the Palestinians were justified in choosing to boycott an economic conference in Bahrain later this month where Washington is set to unveil the first phase of the US administrations long-delayed “peace plan.”