In an interview to be broadcast in Israel on Friday, U.S. Ambassador David Friedman appears to break with almost 25 years of American policy advocating a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Friedman also casts doubt on the American definition of the West Bank, which Israel won from Jordan in the 1967 war, and which has been considered occupied territory by the United States, Europe and the United Nations.
“I believe settlements are a part of Israel,” Friedman says in a 90-second teaser posted Thursday by the Israeli outlet Walla News, which conducted the interview. “I think that was always the expectation, when Resolution 242 was adopted in 1967.”
U.N. Resolution 242, approved by the United Nations after the 1967 war, cites the “inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war” and is widely understood not to recognize the West Bank as Israeli territory.
“It was and it remains today the only substantive resolution that was agreed to by everybody,” Friedman says in the clip. “The idea was that Israel would be entitled to secure borders. The existing borders of 1967 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. There was always supposed to be some notion of expansion into the West Bank but not necessarily expansion into the entire West Bank.”
“They’re only occupying 2% of the West Bank,” Friedman adds.
That also appears to be either a misstatement or a change in definition. In her Thursday briefing, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert declined to state a figure held by the United States, but the European Union and Israeli nongovernmental organizations say that…