US Ambassador to Israeli occupation David Friedman has asked the US State Department to stop using the term “occupied” in official documents referring to Israeli occupation of West Bank.
Friedman and the State Department agreed that the issue will be discussed again and that the US President Donald Trump will have the final say.
In September, Friedman told an Israeli news outlet: “I think the settlements are part of Israel. I think that was always the expectation.”
He added, according to Days of Palestine: “Obviously, there are important security considerations to those settlements, there is important nationalistic, historical and religious significance to those settlements and I think the settlers view themselves as Israelis, and Israel views the settlers as Israelis.”
Before taking up his post as ambassador, Friedman served as president of American Friends of Bet El Institutions, an organization that supports the large West Bank settlement near Ramallah, and has a long history of excoriating groups who criticize Israel’s settlement policy.
Friedman’s directive comes just weeks after Trump shifted decades of US policy and recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on December 6.
In an address from the White House, Trump defied worldwide warnings and insisted that, after repeated failures to achieve peace, a new approach was long overdue. He described his decision to recognize Jerusalem, as the seat of Israel’s government, as merely based on reality.