US ambassador to Israel David Friedman yesterday attended a business gathering at the West Bank settlement of Ariel. This is the first ever official visit by a sitting American ambassador to a West Bank settlement, breaking a longtime US policy that banned American ambassadors to Israel from crossing the Green Line and even more so from visiting West Bank settlements.
As if the visit itself was not enough, Friedman posted this on his twitter account: “At the invitation of the Judea and Samaria Chamber of Commerce, I met in Ariel with Palestinian & Israeli business leaders ready, willing & able to advance joint opportunity & peaceful coexistence. People want peace & we are ready to help! Is the Palestinian leadership listening?”
That’s right. Friedman’s idea of Israeli-Palestinian peaceful coexistence is what he found under Israeli military occupation, in a settlement that is one of the largest obstacles to Israeli-Palestinian peace.
We at APN have for more than a year been calling for Friedman to be fired. His actions and statements blatantly contradict long-held United States policy and he continues to damage US efforts to advance Israeli-Palestinian peace.