The Palestinians are blaming the diplomatic rift with the U.S. on Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, whom they accuse of being biased for Israel, according to media reports Thursday.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said that “the statements by the U.S. ambassador lead us to wonder…Does he represent the U.S. or Israel.”
“The ambassador’s advice and consultations, which are not aimed at achieving a just peace based on international legality, have led to this crisis in U.S.–Palestinian relations,” Rudeineh claimed.
Although PA official did not specify which statements of Friedman’s he had in mind, it was known that a comment on last week’s stabbing of Rabbi Itamar Ben-Gal, Hy”d, outside Ariel had angered the Palestinians:
“Twenty years ago I gave an ambulance to Har Bracha, hoping it would be used to deliver healthy babies. Instead, a man from Har Bracha was just murdered by a terrorist, leaving behind a wife and four children. Palestinian ‘leaders’ have praised the killer. Praying for the Ben Gal family,” Friedman tweeted earlier this week.
Moreover, Friedman was reportedly a strong advocate within the Trump administration for the December 6 recognition of Yerushalayim as Israel’s capital, which precipitated the Palestinian boycott of American envoys, notably Friedman.
In a speech in January, Abbas accused Friedman, a longtime supporter of the Jewish presence in Yehudah and Shomron, of living in a “settlement.”
In fact, Friedman resides in the U.S. Ambassador’s residence in Herzliya.
The U.S. embassy has thus far had no comment.