The US Ambassador to Israel has once again shown his ideological commitment to Israel’s colonial-settlement policy as the first US official to declare that the Israeli occupation of Palestine doesn’t exist. He is also the first to declare that the Trump Administration will refrain from taking any action should Israel decide to annex occupied Palestine – now doubt as an attorney, he understands the legal implications of annexing occupied territory as a grave violation of international law.
There is no doubt that Mr. Friedman’s behavior and statements are irresponsible and solely guided to advance Israeli colonialism, an enterprise that he has been personally committed to as one of its funders. During his time as US Ambassador to Israel, he has worked tirelessly to advocate and legitimize Israeli violations while dehumanizing Palestinians, inciting against the Palestinian national movement, and now even calling for a change of leadership in Palestine.
In parallel, we have heard Israel’s Minister Avigdor Lieberman attacking President Abbas and the Palestinian people for the payments made to the families of Palestinian prisoners and martyrs. We are not intimidated by those statements: Palestine pays a financial price for the occupation because Israel refuses to uphold its international obligations regarding prisoners. We will not abandon our prisoners. We consider this a moral and legal obligation enshrined by Article 81 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. While Israel will not make these payments, as required by international humanitarian law, Palestine will provide for the families through the Palestinian social welfare system – as any other nation worldwide provides for the maintenance of their citizens.
Avigdor Lieberman, an illegal settler himself, and Friedman, a staunch supporter of Israel’s illegal colonial-settlement activities, have proven to be members of the same camp. A camp which aims to deny the rights of the Palestinian people, and perpetuate occupation while imposing an Apartheid regime all over Palestine. Mr. Friedman has further confirmed that there is nothing to come out from President Trump’s Middle East efforts that remotely resembles freedom, justice, or peace.