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Friedman renews claims Israel has ‘right’ to annex West Bank

(L to R) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and US ambassador to Israel David Friedman, touch the stones of the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City on March 21, 2019, during the second day of Pompeo's visit as part of his five-day regional tour of the Middle East. [ABIR SULTAN/AFP/Getty Images]
(L to R) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and US ambassador to Israel David Friedman, touch the stones of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City on 21 March 2019 [ABIR SULTAN/AFP/Getty Images]

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman has renewed his claim that Israel has the right to annex parts of occupied West Bank.

According to Quds Press, Friedman told Israeli radio that there is no scenario in which Israel would have to leave the West Bank, which it has occupied since 1967.

Friedman reiterated his previous comments to the New York Times, in which he claimed Israel has the “right” to annex parts of the West Bank. The US ambassador stressed this is the policy of his country, or at least “the American expectations for the coming decades”.

His comments provoked a wave of criticism, with the Palestinian Foreign Ministry considering filing a complaint against the ambassador at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

US: No change to W. Bank policy after envoy goes rogue

“I do not understand why this issue was faced with such criticism,” Friedman argued, stressing that “there is not scenario in which Israel is leaving the whole West Bank”.

Israel’s illegal settlement of the occupied West Bank has continued apace; on Monday, Palestinian research Hanna Issa issued a statement noting that Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem have reached 503, with more than one million settlers.

Israel’s settlement is a violation of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which bans an occupying power from transferring civilian populations into territories it occupies.

In 2016, the United Nations Security Council passed resolution 2334 in a 14–0 vote, stating that Israeli settlement in the occupied Palestinian territories is illegal.

READ: Top Trump envoy backs Friedman on West Bank annexation

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