Is­raeli right wel­comes Trump am­bas­sador pick

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -


A se­nior Is­raeli gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial yesterday joined set­tlers in wel­com­ing US Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump’s nom­i­na­tion of a hard­line lawyer to be am­bas­sador to the Jewish state.

David Fried­man, a bank­ruptcy lawyer, sup­ports set­tle­ment ex­pan­sion in the oc­cu­pied West Bank, char­ac­terised by suc­ce­sive US ad­min­is­tra­tions as an “ob­sta­cle to peace” with the Pales­tini­ans. “Fried­man’s ap­point­ment is good news for Is­rael,” deputy for­eign min­is­ter Tzipi Ho­tovely said in a state­ment. Fried­man-a Trump cam­paign ad­viser-backs mov­ing the US em­bassy in Is­rael to Jerusalem, con­trary to Wash­ing­ton’s long­stand­ing pol­icy of bas­ing its am­bas­sador in Tel Aviv.

“His po­si­tions re­flect the will to strengthen the sta­tus of Is­rael’s cap­i­tal, Jerusalem, at this time and an un­der­stand­ing that the set­tle­ments have never been the real prob­lem in the re­gion,” Ho­tovely wrote. In a Trump tran­si­tion team state­ment Thurs­day an­nounc­ing his ap­point­ment, Fried­man said he wanted to work for peace and looked for­ward to “do­ing this from the US em­bassy in Is­rael’s eter­nal cap­i­tal, Jerusalem.”

The United States and most UN mem­ber states do not rec­og­nize Jerusalem as Is­rael’s cap­i­tal and the city’s sta­tus is one of the thorni­est is­sue of the decades-long Is­raeli-Pales­tinian con­flict. Is­rael cap­tured Arab east Jerusalem in the Six Day War of 1967 and sub­se­quently an­nexed it in a move never rec­og­nized by the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity.

The Pales­tini­ans claim it as the cap­i­tal of a fu­ture state. The Ye­sha coun­cil, which rep­re­sents the more than 400,000 Is­raeli set­tlers in the West Bank, praised the new am­bas­sador-des­ig­nate.

“Fried­man has a deep love for all of the land and peo­ple of Is­rael, in­clud­ing those in Ju­daea and Sa­maria,” the group’s for­eign af­fairs spokesman Oded Re­vivi said in a state­ment yesterday, us­ing the bib­li­cal term by which the Is­raeli right de­scribes the West Bank. “His knowl­edge and wis­dom of the is­sues will strengthen the bridge be­tween our great na­tions.” — AFP

David Fried­man, Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump’s choice for am­bas­sador to Is­rael. —AP

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