Palestinians slam US ambassador to Israel over settlements remarks

A Palestinian man argues with Israeli soldiers as they arrest the brother of Nimr Jamal near Ramallah on Tuesday. Jamal was earlier shot dead by Israelis in an illegal settlement outside Jerusalem. (Reuters)
Updated 01 October 2017

Palestinians slam US ambassador to Israel over settlements remarks

AMMAN: Palestinians from all walks of life have condemned US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman over his defense of illegal settlements, while an American-Jewish peace movement has demanded the envoy be recalled.
Friedman caused uproar after telling the Israeli news site Walla that only 2 percent of the West Bank is occupied and that settlements are part of Israel.
Friedman, a known sympathizer with Israel regarding the settlements, had earlier stirred controversy after he used the term “alleged occupation.”
The editorial of the Palestinian daily newspaper Al-Quds on Friday slammed Friedman, an American bankruptcy lawyer turned pro-Israeli ambassador.
“The Palestinian leadership has the right to demand from the US side clear positions on these dangerous statements if it indeed doesn’t adopt this extremist line that was represented by Friedman,” the editorial said.
A spokeswoman of the US Department of State stated Friday that US foreign policy regarding settlements “has not changed.”
Issa Amro, a prominent Palestinian human-rights defender and activist based in Hebron, West Bank, told Arab News that the American ambassador has aligned himself with extremists.
“This is a declaration of war on Palestinian rights and this statement reflects the US bias with right-wing Israeli extremists which no doubt will embolden these elements into continuing their racist and discriminatory policies,” said Amro, who is also co-founder of the grassroots group Youth Against Settlements.
Amro, who is making a tour of Washington and meeting with top US officials, echoed others in saying Friedman is unqualified to be US ambassador to Israel.
“For a country that is trying to play a neutral role in supporting people, human rights and international law, such a statement reflects a person who is not qualified to represent the Trump administration,” said Amro, who called for the US ambassador to be censured by the international community.
“David Friedman’s name should be added to the list of international companies that deal with the illegal settlements,” Amro told Arab News.
Hanan Ashrawi, Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) executive committee member, also condemned Friedman’s statements.
“In addition to his long-standing support for Israeli settlements, and after referring to the ‘alleged occupation’ of Palestinian land, he has the audacity to maintain that Israel occupies only 2 percent of the West Bank and that illegal settlements that carve, annex and steal Palestinian land are part of Israel,” Ashrawi said.
“The occupation exists. Settlements are illegal under international law and constitute a war crime. These facts and realities are not in question.”
Americans for Peace Now (APN) called on President Donald Trump to recall Ambassador Friedman for making statements that blatantly contradict long-held US policy.
“The truth is simple: Friedman is an obstacle to peace, a source of provocation and instability, and is therefore unfit to serve. We call on President Trump to immediately recall him from Tel Aviv and replace him with a person who would better serve our national interests in this sensitive and vital post,” APN said.
Nabil Shaath, a senior Fatah official and adviser to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, told the Palestinian daily Al-Ayyam that Friedman is ignorant of both geography and the policies of his own government.
“Friedman is totally biased to the country he is delegated to. I have a hard time understanding someone who is totally ignorant of diplomacy, of the position of the United States of America and ignorant of geography,” Shaath is reported as saying.


Dubai Metro line extension will open to public in September

Updated 09 July 2020

Dubai Metro line extension will open to public in September

  • The $2.9 billion project, called Metro Route 2020, adds seven stations to the city’s Red Line
  • The new stations will serve communities in the southern part of Dubai

DUBAI: The Dubai Metro line’s 15-kilometer route extension was inaugurated on Wednesday and will be open to the public in September.

The $2.9 billion project, called Metro Route 2020, adds seven stations to the city’s Red Line, including one for the Expo 2020 site.

“The project offers safe and smooth transport for Expo visitors and residents of Dubai communities,” a statement carried by state-run WAM said.

The expansion comes as part of Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority’s masterplan to provide an integrated mass transit system comprising the metro, tram, buses and marine transport.

The new stations will serve communities in the southern part of Dubai, including The Gardens, Discovery Gardens, Al Furjan, Jumeirah Golf Estates, Dubai Investment Park.