Ambassador Friedman Wants State Department to Drop ‘Occupied’

YERUSHALAYIM -
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, left and U.S. Ambassador David Friedman, right, at an event in May. (Abir Sultan/Pool Photo via AP)

U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman wants the State Department to stop using the term “occupied” when referring to Yehudah and Shomron, but it seems unlikely he will succeed in changing the practice.

Friedman’s request, made earlier this year, was at first rejected out of hand by the State Department, which only reluctantly agreed to even discuss the matter after Friedman pressed them, Kan, the Israel Broadcasting Corporation, reported on Tuesday.

He suggested to the State Department that the more neutral term “West Bank” be used in official statements and documents instead.

“I think the settlements are part of Israel,” Friedman said in an interview with Walla recently.

“I think that was always the expectation when Resolution 242 was adopted in 1967. It remains today the only substantive resolution that was agreed to by everybody,” he noted.

“The idea was that Israel would be entitled to secure borders,” said Friedman. “The existing borders, the 1967 borders, were viewed by everybody as not secure, 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.”

“So there was always supposed to be some notion of expansion into the West Bank, but not necessarily expansion into the entire West Bank. And I think that’s exactly what, you know, Israel has done. I mean, they’re only occupying two percent of the West Bank,” he pointed out.