Palestine considers ICC complaint against US envoy Friedman

Move comes after US ambassador to Israel David Friedman says Israel has right to annex ‘some’ of occupied West Bank.

The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates is considering filing a complaint against the US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, at the International Criminal Court (ICC) over his recent comments on the long-awaited US peace plan.

Friedman, a staunch supporter of Israeli settlements, said Israel has the right to annex at least “some” of the occupied West Bank in an interview published by the New York Times on Saturday.

“Under certain circumstances, I think Israel has the right to retain some, but unlikely all, of the West Bank,” he said.

In a press statement on Sunday, the ministry condemned Friedman’s remarks, describing him as “a threat to regional peace and security” and his words as “an extension of the policy of the US administration, which is fully biased towards the occupation and its expansionist colonial policies“.

“What reasoning could justify Friedman’s logic that Israel has the right to annex parts of the West Bank? International law prohibits the annexation of a land by force, as well as a reality imposed by occupying powers,” the ministry said in a statement.

Palestinian rejection

Friedman’s remarks elicited a strong reaction from Palestinian politicians.

Senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat said on Saturday any such policy would be tantamount to “US complicity with Israeli colonial plans”.

Palestinian rejection

Friedman’s remarks elicited a strong reaction from Palestinian politicians.

Senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat said on Saturday any such policy would be tantamount to “US complicity with Israeli colonial plans”.

During campaigning for the first general election in April, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged to annex illegal Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, a move long supported by nearly all legislators in his alliance of right-wing and religious parties.

In February this year, Netanyahu told legislators he had been discussing with Washington a plan that would effectively annex illegal settlements.

In a rare public show of disunity between the close allies, the White House then flatly denied any such discussion.

Following the persistent expansion of the settlements by successive Netanyahu governments, more than 600,000 Jewish settlers now live in the West Bank, including annexed East Jerusalem, among some three million Palestinians.

The international community regards the settlements as illegal and the biggest obstacle to peace.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA NEWS

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