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US ambassador to Israel lobbies in favor of settlers

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman acts more like an ambassador of the settlers vis-a-vis the Trump administration.
David Friedman (L), the newly appointed United States Ambassador to Israel, shakes hands with Israel's President Reuven Rivlin, during a ceremony whereby Rivlin received Friedman's diplomatic credentials at his residence in Jerusalem May 16, 2017. REUTERS/Heidi Levine/Pool - RC1CB682D2C0
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The pro-settlement Israeli right does not appear overly concerned by the prospect that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may have to relocate from his office to a jail cell, following police investigations against him. Nor are these occupation deniers losing sleep over an Israeli-Palestinian peace plan being cooked up by President Donald Trump that would disrupt their plans to annex East Jerusalem and West Bank lands to Israel. They have placed their trust elsewhere, and it’s not in the Almighty. As long as David Friedman occupies the office of the US ambassador in Tel Aviv — soon to be in Jerusalem — they need not worry. Since Trump’s former attorney was given the plum diplomatic assignment, the platform of the pro-settlement HaBayit HaYehudi party has become White House policy.

In his role as the president’s gatekeeper to the Israeli arena, Friedman has taken it upon himself to ensure that White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt do not take seriously the boss’s talk of achieving the “ultimate deal” between Israelis and Palestinians. For Friedman, a bankruptcy lawyer, the Arabs went bankrupt in 1967. Moreover, as far as he is concerned, anyone who goes bankrupt should be grateful for any offer that keeps him from being thrown out into the street. Friedman has become the scourge of the State Department and National Security Council. A US official who attends meetings of the US peace team told Al-Monitor that when Friedman is in the room, Greenblatt aligns to the right, but when Friedman is absent from the forum, Greenblatt allows himself to present balanced and logical views.

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