Palestinian officials slam controversial remarks on Israeli occupation by US envoy

Palestinian officials slam controversial remarks on Israeli occupation by US envoy

- (Wikimedia Commons)

Ramallah (ANTARA News) - Senior Palestinian officials condemned the blatant bias of U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman for suggesting that only 2 percent of the West Bank is under Israeli occupation, the official news agency WAFA reported Friday.

"The U.S. ambassador to Israel has proved once again that he is completely removed from reality," Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Executive Committee of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), was quoted as saying.

In a recent interview with the Israeli media, Friedman suggested that only 2 percent of the West Bank is occupied by Israel.

"In addition to his long-standing support for Israeli settlements, and after referring to the alleged occupation of Palestinian land, he has the audacity to maintain that Israel occupies only 2 percent of the West Bank and that illegal settlements that carve, annex and steal Palestinian land are part of Israel," Ashrawi said.

Ashrawi noted that Friedman continued to visit illegal Jewish settlements and even joined the Israeli celebrations in June marking the occupation of Palestinian land in 1967.

"Not only does the ambassador break from long-standing US policy, he is also at odds with the international legal, political and moral consensus," she said.

Friedmans positions reflect the settlers ideology in Israels right-wing coalition government rather than that of successive administrations that have claimed to be invested in peace, Ashrawi noted.

"The occupation exists. Settlements are illegal under international law and constitute a war crime. These facts and realities are not in question," she maintained.

She urged the U.S. government ho hold Friedman accountable for his remarks and his "consistently outrageous and morally repugnant attitude, actions and statements."

Meanwhile, Secretary-General of the PLO Executive Committee Saeb Erekat also criticized Friedmans latest statements about Israel "occupying only 2 percent of the West Bank."

He said Friedmans remarks is not only false and misleading, but also contradict international law, UN resolutions, and also the historical U.S. position.

"Israel is internationally recognized as the occupying power over 100 percent of Palestine, including in and around Occupied East Jerusalem," Erekat said.

"Such positions undermine ongoing efforts towards achieving a just and lasting peace between Israel and Palestine on the 1967 border," he added.