US ambassador: Israel has right to annex parts of West Bank

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David Friedman gives interview to New York Times

‘Israel has right to some, but unlikely all’ of disputed territory

The US ambassador to Israel did not rule out an Israeli move to annex parts of the occupied West Bank, land the Palestinians seek for a state, in an interview with the New York Times published on Saturday.

Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said in the run-up to an April election that he plans to annex Jewish settlements in the West Bank, a move bound to trigger widespread international condemnation and complicate peace efforts.

The Times said US ambassador David Friedman declined to say how Washington would respond to annexation, but remarked: “We really don’t have a view until we understand how much, on what terms, why does it make sense, why is it good for Israel, why is it good for the region, why does it not create more problems than it solves.

“These are all things that we’d want to understand, and I don’t want to prejudge.”

The White House has been working on a proposal for peace between Israel and the Palestinians, dubbed by Donald Trump “the deal of the century”. It has not disclosed any of its details. In an interview with Axios last week White House adviser Jared Kushner cast doubt on Palestinian abilities to self-govern.

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