Donald Trump’s ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, has referred to the situation in the Palestinian territories as “an alleged occupation”, in an apparent break from US foreign policy and mainstream international opinion.
Talking to the Jerusalem Post in his first major interview with the Israeli media, Friedman appeared to adopt a stance more in line with Israeli settlers, of whom he has been a high-profile supporter.
One of the two journalists who conducted the interview confirmed to the Guardian that Friedman had been accurately quoted. A US official insisted that Friedman’s comments did not mark a change in US policy.
Demanding clarification from the US a Palestinian official said: “Our understanding is that when someone has an official position, like being an ambassador, this person does no longer speak in a personal capacity. Mr Friedman should realise that denying facts doesn’t mean that they don’t exist. He has an extensive record of attacks against the national rights of the Palestinian people, including funding illegal colonial-settlements and participating in celebrations of the Israeli occupation. We call upon the US administration to clarify their position.”
The legal status of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and east Jerusalem – captured during the six-day war in 1967 – is recognised by the United Nations, most countries and by Israel itself in its use of institutions such as military courts to try Palestinians in the West Bank.
The US state department itself also refers unambiguously to the “occupied territories” in its own reports, including in a human rights report earlier this year.
[source : Trump's ambassador to Israel refers to 'alleged occupation' of Palestinian territories, The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/sep/01/trump-ambassador-israel-david-friedman-alleged-occupation-palestinian-territories, 1st September 2017]