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Ambassador’s visits to settlements suggest Trump administration sees no Green Line

US Politics
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U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman visited an Israeli settlement last week during a long weekend of visits to settlements by senior Republicans that was splashed across social media, including a shindig in Jerusalem where former Governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee performed the Lynyrd Skynyrd song “Sweet Home Alabama.”

In the West Bank settlement of Adam, Friedman was pictured speaking with relatives of Yotam Ovadia, an Israeli who was killed the prior week at the age of 31 in an attack by a Palestinian. He gave a strong condemnation of the attack, telling mourners, “I was heartbroken to see the tragic impact of the murder of Yotam Ovadia – a young mother left alone to care for two small children, parents grieving for their only son. Words are insufficient to describe the evil and barbarity of the terrorist act.”

Friedman also posted criticisms of Palestinian leadership, who spoke out against his visit to the settlement, before and after the trip. 

“All life is sacred, but premeditated murder cries out for condemnation. Not hearing it from Palestinian leadership,” he posted to social media.

Settler leaders took note that Friedman has met with Israelis living in West Bank settlements more than any other ambassador and questioned if the Trump administration had quietly overturned a longstanding ban on senior diplomats conducting official embassy visits in Israeli settlements.

“It seems as if we are talking about a change in U.S. policy with respect to the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria,” the spokesman for the Binyamin Regional Council said in a statement.

Oded Revivi, mayor of Efrat and foreign envoy for a settler group, told the Jerusalem Post, “It is encouraging to see Israelis treated equally by the [White House] without paying attention to where they live, in stark contrast to the previous administration.”

The meeting in Adam was Friedman’s second official visit to a settlement since beginning his post as ambassador last year.  

The night before Friedman was filmed at a party in Jerusalem with senior GOP officials on a tour of Israel and the settlements. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee played “Sweet Home Alabama” to a crowd that included former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci.

Huckabee and Scaramucci were in Israel meeting with settler leaders. Yossi Dagan, the head of the settler group the Shomron Regional Council, brought the two to the West Bank settlement of Efrat where Huckabee laid a stone in a construction site in front a red and white banner that read “Build Israel Great Again,” an apparent reference to Donald Trump’s Make America Great Again slogan. 

Huckabee and Scaramucci can be seen in pictures on social media touring the Tomb of the Patriarchs or Ibrahimi Mosque in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron. And Scaramucci posted images of an outing to Rachel’s Tomb, another religious site located in the West Bank outside of Bethlehem. 

 

 

Allison Deger
About Allison Deger

Allison Deger is the Assistant Editor of Mondoweiss.net. Follow her on twitter at @allissoncd.

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6 Responses

  1. annie
    annie
    August 7, 2018, 3:39 pm

    how grotesque

  2. Citizen
    Citizen
    August 7, 2018, 8:51 pm

    So chintzy, on so many levels. Two insane, dangerous cults in same place, same time, stolen from the natives.

  3. Balfour
    Balfour
    August 8, 2018, 1:46 pm

    What percentage of Jewish Settlers also carry a U.S. passport? How many American volunteers/ dual national citizens currently serve in the Israeli military? American taxpayers want to know.

  4. James Canning
    James Canning
    August 8, 2018, 6:41 pm

    Mike Huckabee apparently agrees with David Friedman that Israel should be encouraged to continue flouting international law by growing illegal colonies of Jews in the occupied West Bank, no matter what damage this program does to the standing of the US in the Middle East.

    • Maghlawatan
      Maghlawatan
      August 9, 2018, 1:16 am

      Huckabee represents USEvangelicals, the US equivalent of the Orthodox vote bank in Israel. They vote for the Rapture and instead they get opioid deaths. Without the Evangelicals the GOP would collapse. The alliance between Zionism and poor US rednecks benefits Israelis only and it is hard to see it being sustainable. Most economic indicators for Red States are very poor. Evangelical life expectancy is falling. We are in a time when a lot of political arrangements are close to Breaking point. In 1968 the Democrats lost the South. If they played smart and focused on how the GOP betrays voters they could win it back again.

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