Palestinians hit out at U.S. envoy’s comments

Also warn of taking the issue to ICC

June 09, 2019 10:33 pm | Updated 10:33 pm IST - Ramallah

Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat | File

Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat | File

Palestinian leaders said that a U.S. envoy’s comments on Israel having the right to annex at least parts of the occupied West Bank showed that “extremists” are involved in White House policy on the issue.

In a statement late on Saturday in response to U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman's comments, a Palestinian government spokesman said some of those leading U.S. policy on the issue were “extremists” lacking in “political maturity.”

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry said it was looking into filing a complaint with the International Criminal Court (ICC) on the issue. Palestine Liberation Organisation secretary general Saeb Erekat on Twitter called Mr. Friedman an “extreme ambassador of the settlers.” “Their vision is about annexation of occupied territory, a war crime under international law,” he said.

Mr. Erekat also renewed a Palestinian call for countries to boycott a June 25-26 conference in Bahrain to discuss economic aspects of a peace deal the White House has been working on.

In an interview published on Saturday, Mr. Friedman said some degree of annexation of the West Bank would be legitimate. “Under certain circumstances, I think Israel has the right to retain some, but unlikely all, of the West Bank,” he said.

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