Tal Ovadia (R), Oded Rivivi (C), David Friedman (L).
(photo credit: MIRI TZACHI)
The Palestinian Authority on Tuesday condemned US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman’s “recurring visits” to Jewish settlements, dubbing them a “provocation.”
The PA accused the US administration and its “Zionist staff” of working towards imposing their policies on the international community.
The PA’s condemnation came after Friedman paid a condolence visit Monday to the family of Yotam Ovadia
who was stabbed to death Thursday in a terrorist attack in Adam.
“My heart was broken upon seeing the tragic consequence of the killing of Yotam Ovadia,” Friedman said during the visit. “A young woman left alone to care for two toddlers, parents mourning their only son. There are no words that can describe the evil and barbarity of this act of terror.”
The PA Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it “condemns with the strongest words the provocative visits by the ambassador of the [US President Donald] Trump administration to Tel Aviv to settlements in the occupied West Bank.”
The ministry said that the positions of the US administration were “illegal and illegitimate, and a blatant violation of the international law.”
According to the PA ministry, the “steadfastness and persistence of the Palestinians, as well as their support for their legitimate leadership, are capable of foiling the illusions and conspiracies of the American administration.” The Palestinians, it added, are also capable of thwarting the attempts of the Trump administration to impose its position on the international community and the United Nations.”
The PA ministry said that visits by US officials to the settlements are always “welcomed by the leaders of the settlements, who perceive them as a sign of the US administration’s support for settlements and settlers in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Friedman responded to the PA’s condemnation on Twitter: “Yesterday I visited a young widow grieving the death of her husband, murdered last week by a Palestinian terrorist,” he wrote “I was heartbroken by her tears and those of her in-laws who had lost their only son. Today, the PA Foreign Ministry condemned my visit. Nothing more to say.”
On his visit to Adam, the US ambassador was accompanied by Chairman of the Yesha Council Hananel Dorani, head of the Council’s External Relations Division Oded Ravivi, and chairman of the Binyamin Regional Council Maoz Begun.
The PA ministry also condemned efforts by the US Congress to pass a new legislation that recognizes only 40,000 Palestinian refugees instead of the 5.2 million registered with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA).
The ministry said that these efforts were an “integral part of the so-called deal of the century,” a reference to Trump’s yet-to-be-unveiled plan for peace in the Middle East. The ministry repeated the PA’s allegation that Trump’s unseen plan was aimed at “eliminating the Palestinian cause and its big issues, first and foremost the issues of Jerusalem and refugees.”
Recently, Republican Congressman Doug Lamborn introduced the UNRWA Reform and Refugee Support Act., which accuses UNRWA of inflating its budget and creating a refugee population in perpetuity.
According to the bill, the US “contributes hundreds of millions of tax dollars annually to this agency, making up one quarter of UNRWA’s annual operating budget. This bill ensures that US taxpayer dollars dedicated to refugees should only contribute to UNRWA to the extent that it resettles the original refugees from 1948, not the great-grandchildren who may have not even grown up in the Middle East but comfortably in other nations.”
The PA ministry alleged that the Trump administration and its “religious Zionist staff were continuing to make a mockery of international law in a bid to impose their positions and policies, which are blindly biased in favor of the Israeli occupation, on the international community with unprecedented arrogance.”
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