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Friedman Under Fire for Annexation Comments

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10 Jun 2019 (All day)
Friedman Under Fire for Annexation Comments

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman gave an interview to the New York Times, published last Friday, in which he said among other things that  “Under certain circumstances, I think Israel has the right to retain some, but unlikely all, of the West Bank.” Following the interview, another Trump Administration officials said “Our policy has not changed” regarding the West Bank, but this did not prevent a chorus of condemnation for Friedman from Palestinian and Leftist Jewish groups in Israel and the US. During the interview Friedman also said that any Israeli plan to actually annex parts of the West Bank would be very deeply scrutinized by the US before being signed off on. He added intense criticism of the Palestinian Authority for what he said was a campaign of intimidation to prevent Palestinian business people from attending the upcoming economic conference in Bahrain as well as the PA’s “very, very poor track record on human rights.”

“Friedman is ignorant in political work and belongs to the state of settlers,” the PA Foreign Ministry said in response. “Friedman’s remarks are an extension of the US administration’s policy, which is fully biased in favor of the occupation and its expansionist colonial policies. The remarks of the settler Friedman expose the truth about him and his ideas, as well as those of his settler peers. We are studying whether his racist rhetoric is sufficient to file a complaint against him with the International Criminal Court for trying to impose his racist visions and threatening peace and security in the region, as well as exposing the Palestinian people to several dangers and conspiracies.”

This statement was echoed by several other PA officials and pro-Palestinian activists, while Israeli Leftist group Peace Now issued a statement describing Friedman as a “Trojan Horse in the service of the settler Right that is sabotaging the interest of Israel and the chances for peace.”

Meanwhile, Palestinian factions announced on Sunday that they will launch a “popular uprising” on 25-26 June to protest the Trump Administration’s peace plan dubbed the “Deal of the Century” and the initial stages of it at the Manama economic workshop, which will be attended by delegations from several Arab countries but which the PA has pre-emptively denounced as a “conspiracy to liquidate the Palestinian cause” which they will have no part of.

Turkey in Danger of Losing Access to F-35
The US Defense Department announced late last week that they are laying the groundwork to cancel Turkey’s participation in the international program to build the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter in light of Ankara’s apparent intention to go ahead with the purchase and deployment of the Russian-built S-400 air defense system. The move would cost Turkish industry billions of dollars and exacerbate already poor relations between Turkey and its NATO allies. Meanwhile, the Kremlin has reportedly offered to sell Turkey its own fifth-generation aircraft to replace the planned purchases of the F-35.

Weizmann Institute Ranked Among World’s Top Universities
In another defeat for the movement to Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) Israel, the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot was ranked among the top 25 research institutes in the world in two main categories in lists published last week by the prestigious U-Multirank website. “This ranking shows that our striving for excellence – our basic drive to conduct curiosity-based research and investigate the workings of nature – is paying off,” said Daniel Zajfman, President of the Weizmann Institute of Science.

Israeli Chess Champion Takes Second Place at European Tournament
Eight-year-old Israeli Or Shatil defeated previously unbeaten Ismayilova Khanim from Azerbaijan and took home second place honors at the European School Chess Championships in Mamia, Romania over the weekend.

Israel Blesses the World
Access Israel, an NGO which assists people living with physical disabilities, held its 7th International Conference in Tel Aviv recently, welcoming over 800 participants from 22 countries discussing a wide variety of policies, technology and best practices for facilitating the desire of physically disabled people to contribute to their communities. In a related development, the "First International Conference on Wearable Devices for Medical Diagnosis" was held last month at the Technion–Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, with the participation of practitioners and technology experts from around the world.

Today's video shows a panel discussion about China's growing presense in the Middle East

(Video Begins at 36:30)


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