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Settlers hail U.S. ambassador for saying settlements part of Israel
01 October 2017, 12:21 | Vera Richards
Israeli construction teams work on a concrete border wall to run above and below ground along the Gaza border September 2016
In other news, the papers reported on preparations in Gaza to receive the Palestinian government of Rami Hamdallah, which is expected to arrive there on Monday following rise in efforts to reunify the West Bank and Gaza Strip and end their 10-year-long division following the 2007 Hamas coup.
The Trump State Department's reaction was both swift and harsh.
"They (Israelis) are only occupying 2 percent of the West Bank", Friedman said in an interview with the Israeli news site Walla.
"[Friedman's comments] should not be read as a shift in United States policy", she said.
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The US regards Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian West Bank and East Jerusalem as illegal and an obstacle to the achievement of peace between the Palestinians and Israelis.
"I think that was always the expectation when [UN] resolution 242 was adopted in 1967", he said.
"So there was always supposed to be some notion of expansion into the West Bank, but not necessarily expansion into the entire West Bank".
"His latest statement about Israel "occupying only 2% of the West Bank"... is not only false and misleading but contradict [s] worldwide law, United Nations resolutions and also the historical USA position", Erekat said, adding that "Israel is internationally recognized as the occupying power over 100% of Palestine".
The US ambassador in Tel Aviv has angered Palestinians with a comment downplaying Israel's 50-year occupation of the West Bank, the second such spat in a month.
"We'll try to get it done right, not done fast", Friedman added.
"The idea was that Israel would be entitled to secure borders", he added.
Nevertheless, roughly 500,000 Israelis now live on more than 100 Jewish-only settlements built on these territories since 1967. Israel maintains civil and military control of the entirety of Area C, which makes up roughly 60% of the West Bank, and control of all the borders. "Obviously its clear what is going on here, 54% of American foreign aid goes to Israel, 26% of that allows Israelis to buy weapons from Israeli suppliers and the list just goes on and on", Dankof said.
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Rossello also noted that he has been speaking with members of Congress from both parties in order to achieve a seven-day waiver. The conference was held amid growing criticism that Trump had not mentioned Puerto Rico or the USVI for several days.
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