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US envoy’s annexation remarks encourage violation of Palestinians’ rights: Hamas

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman speaks during the annual meeting of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in Washington, US, on March 26, 2019. (Photo by AFP)

The Palestinian resistance movement Hamas has lashed at US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman after he said the Tel Aviv regime has the right to annex “some” of the West Bank, arguing such comments amount to “legitimization of settlement expansion activities” in the occupied territories.

The movement, in a statement published on Monday, announced that the remarks which equal “an attack on Palestinians’ rights and are in violation of UN resolutions and international law” come on the 52nd anniversary of Naksa Day, during which the Israeli army occupied the city of al-Quds, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as well as other Arab land in the 1967 Six-Day War, noting that “the United States will complete its hostility toward our nation through such comments, and strip it of the remaining rights.”

“The American administration carries full responsibility for any repercussions of these snide remarks, which encourage the Israeli occupation to commit further violations against our people, their rights and their land. The Palestinian nation will continue to resist the occupation and defend its rights,” the statement pointed out.


Hamas then called upon Arab and Muslim nations besides all freedom-loving people worldwide to stand by the Palestinian nation, strengthen its steadfastness, protect its rights and defend human values ​​in the face of injustice and arrogance led by the US administration.

Meanwhile, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki said on Monday that Friedman’s remarks were intended to help Israel advance its annexation of the West Bank.

“It seems that Friedman with his statement is trying to help [Israeli Prime Minister] Benjamin have the courage to take such a decision. This is really something that the international community has to stand up, has to respond,” Maliki said during a visit to Warsaw.

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry, in a statement released on Sunday, said it will consider filing a complaint at the International Criminal Court against the US envoy for backing Israeli annexation.

The statement said Friedman’s remarks reflected the policy of US President Donald Trump’s administration toward Israeli settlements.

“In what logic does Friedman think that Israel has the right to annex parts of the West Bank? On what reality did he base his conviction? On international law prohibiting the annexation of territory by force? Or the reality imposed by the occupation authorities?” the statement carried by Palestine’s official WAFA news agency read.

In an interview published by The New York Times on Saturday, Friedman said that some degree of Israeli 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.

About 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.

The UN Security Council has condemned Israel’s settlement activities in the occupied territories in several resolutions.

Less than a month before Trump took office, the United Nations Security Council in December 2016 adopted Resolution 2334, calling on Israel to “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem” al-Quds.

Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.

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