US President-elect Donald Trump donated $10,000 to a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank in 2003, a leader of the Ramallah-area community revealed yesterday.
A Trump J. Foundation tax form showed that Trump gave the donation to a US non-profit group that raises funds for the Beit El settlement's seminary, along with a news organisation affiliated with the settler movement and other activities in the settlement.
The US-based CBS News reported that the New York lawyer David Freidman, Trump's pick for US ambassador to Israel, is the non-profit's president.
Former MK and Beit El Founder Yaakov Katz told the Galey Israel radio station yesterday that Trump's gift was made in honour of his friend David Friedman, who went on to become his Jewish adviser and whom Trump last week nominated as the next US ambassador to Israel, the Times of Israel reported.
"I'll let you in on a little secret: When Friedman was our guest of honour at a fundraiser years ago, incoming president Trump sent us a donation of $10,000," Katz said.
"If I would have known he would be elected president, I would have saved the cheque," Katz added. He said that Friedman was like a brother to him. The two have been friends for 40 years.
The Obama administration, like many before it, considers West Bank settlements obstacles to peace. The Palestinians seek the territory, captured by Israel in 1967, for a state.
On the contrary, Freidman has noted that Trump does not see settlements as an impediment to peace. "Trump would not dictate to Israel where it can and cannot build," he reiterated.
Trump's transition team had no immediate comment on Trump's donation but said the money was used for the settlement's yeshivas, or Jewish learning institutions. Trump has donated money to many yeshivas in Israel and the United States.
In recent years, the parents of Jared Kushner, the son-in-law and trusted confidant of US President-elect Donald Trump, have donated tens of thousands of dollars to organisations and institutions located in illegal West Bank settlements, according to their tax forms.