David Friedman slams former Obama advisor, Ilhan Omar over Wadi Hummus tweets

US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, attacked both Rhodes and Omar, calling their accusations fake news.

By JERUSALEM POST STAFF
July 24, 2019 12:06
3 minute read.
David Friedman (L) and Ilhan Omar (R)

David Friedman (L) and Ilhan Omar (R). (photo credit: REUTERS)

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman on Tuesday slammed former Obama advisor Ben Rhodes and Congresswoman  Ilhan Omar for accusing Israel of racism after the demolition of Palestinian buildings in the West Bank, calling their tweets "fake news."

Rhodes on Monday criticized the demolishing of 12 Palestinian buildings in the West Bank, writing that Israel is doing so just because they belonged to Palestinians, in a tweet that was promptly retweeted by Congresswoman Ilhan Omar.

Following the demolishing of the buildings in Wadi al-Hummus, just outside of Jerusalem, Rhodes wrote: "Imagine having your home destroyed just because of who you are, and that being the point."

The structures in question were located within 400 m. of the security barrier and their construction began after 2014, even though a 2011 edict prohibits construction within such a short distance of the barrier. The residents said they did not know of the edict when they began building.

Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, who has stirred controversy with several antisemitic remarks since taking office and has just announced that she is bringing forth a pro-BDS resolution, retweeted Rhodes' statement, writing that "Ben is right. Palestinians deserve self-determination and statehood just like their neighbors, not destruction of their property and indefinite military occupation of their land. This has to stop!"



Omar announced last week that she intends on visiting Israel and the Palestinian Territories soon, along with Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan, 13th District), who also supports the BDS movement. Omar said that she "wants to learn" but did not provide any details.

David Friedman attacked both Rhodes and Omar, calling their accusations fake news.

"Fake News: Obama Deputy NSA Ben Rhodes tweets that Palestinian homes destroyed this week by Israel solely for racist motivations." Friedman wrote on his own Twitter. "Faker News: Rhodes’ lie immediately endorsed by Congresswoman Ilhan Omar."

Friedman pointed to the lengthy legal proceedings and the selective razing applied only to structures that were built after the edict to disavow the racism claims.

"Real News: Demolition authorized as to some but not all illegal structures on national security grounds by the highly regarded Israeli High Court of Justice after seven years of legal proceedings. Yet another phony charge of racism," Friedman said.



The High Court of Justice had ruled that the structures could be demolished because they “constitute a security danger to the area of the security fence,” the Civil Administration said on Monday. “Enforcement procedures were carried out in accordance with authority and procedures and subject to operational considerations.”

In June, the High Court of Justice rejected an appeal by residents to halt the demolitions. The court is now in the midst of hearing a second appeal, but rejected a request for an injunction against the demolitions on Sunday, until such time as all the legal proceedings were completed.

The Civil Administration said the structures were demolished because they were too close to the security barrier. The buildings were “in an area that falls under an injunction prohibiting building signed by the GOC Central Command on the outskirts of Sur Bahir in close proximity to the security fence,” the Civil Administration said.

The Jerusalem Municipality promised to advance within 180 days a new building plan for 5.5 hectares in Sur Bahir, which will house businesses, creating 1,500 jobs.

Tovah Lazaroff and  Khaled Abu Toameh contributed to this article




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