US Ambassador: Israel occupies just 2 percent of West Bank

Battling a Nuclear Iran Starts by Making Peace with the Palestinians Noa Shusterman

Israel says most settlements are legal under Israeli law - though Israel has never extended its sovereignty over the West Bank.

Trump informed both Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during separate meetings on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meetings in NY earlier in September that the USA administration was working on a new peace initiative, but still needs time to formalize it.

Israel's government and Supreme Court were in open conflict today as the country's senior judges refused to send a representative to a government event marking 50 years of Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Wednesday evening's gala event took place in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc, where the leftist Israeli government at the time encouraged the establishment of the first settlement in the occupied West Bank in September 1967. Let's begin with Ambassador Friedman's apparent determination that the settlements are 'a part of Israel.' This is a complete fabrication.

"So Israel would retain a meaningful portion of the West Bank, and it would return that which it didn't need for peace and security", Friedman said. Israel maintains civil and military control of the entirety of Area C, which makes up roughly 60% of the West Bank, and control of all the borders.

Nabil Shaath, an aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, responded in a video clip on Twitter that the U.S ambassador had displayed "absolute ignorance of facts of law and of the position of the United States".

"Settlement is important to you in the same way that it is important to me, so I say very clearly: There will be no further uprooting of settlements in the land of Israel", Netanyhu told a crowd in a settlement, south of Jerusalem.

"If this is a preview of President Trump's ultimate deal, I shudder, but we have a situation where decision-making capability and soundness of judgment is totally lacking". "We'll try and get it done right, not fast".

Another Palestinian official said: "Israel occupies 100% of the West Bank".

He refrained from answering when asked if settlements would be removed in a peace agreement with the Palestinians.

Referring to the two-state solution, Friedman said the concept "has lost its meaning, or at least has a different meaning to different people".

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