Middle East

US envoy ‘addicted’ to strengthening Israel occupation, settlement – Middle East Monitor

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman has bragged about his support for Israeli occupation of Palestinian and Syrian lands, as well as Israeli settlement, Anadolu news agency reported yesterday.

During the Israeli Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee’s Subcommittee for Policy and Strategy meeting, Friedman said: “I think that having the benefit of now four years of perspective, I do think the most important thing that we did was what we did early on, which was recognising the capital of Israel. That set the right tone, the right theme for our presidency.”

He added: “That strengthened the president not just here but throughout the world. It strengthened him with Iran, with North Korea, because we took the position that America will stand with its friends, America will not flinch [and will not] be afraid of its enemies or those that challenge it.”

About the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Friedman said: “Everybody thought that in the aftermath of the recognition [of Jerusalem] there would be an explosion. And they were right. But it was an explosion of peace, not an explosion of violence.”

For his part, meeting chair Member of the Knesset Zvi Hauser said that Friedman “realised the dreams of us all – to change a historic distortion and implement, in practice, the traditional position of the United States and its historic viewpoint that the capital of the state of the Jewish people in the Land of Israel is Jerusalem.”

The New York Times reported Friedman saying in an interview conducted last Monday and published on Sunday: “I’m frankly somewhere between addicted and intoxicated with what I’ve been able to do, and how much joy it gives me,” stressing that Trump’s administration has “changed the narrative dramatically.”

About Jerusalem, he told the New York Times: “A flood of refugees into Israel? Never going to happen. Dividing Jerusalem? It’s just never going to happen. Israel giving up certain parts of its biblical heartland? Never going to happen.”

READ: Hamas condemns US ambassador’s call to build more settlements

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