'Don't ever compare settlements to terror - terrorism is murder'

US Ambassador slams Obama admin for comparing Israeli housing projects to terror, says Obama 'showed his true face' to Israel with UN vote.

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David Friedman
David Friedman
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US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman blasted President Obama this week, attacking the 44th president over his administration’s comparison of Israeli housing projects to murderous terror attacks and the decision to withhold America’s veto at the United Nations Security Council on a key vote against Israel following Donald Trump’s election.

“During the eight years of Obama’s presidency, there was a very one-sided view of the conflict,” Friedman told Israel Hayom in an interview published Sunday night.

“[The Obama administration] drew a parallel between the settlements and terrorism. I want to make it clear again: the settlements are definitely a very important subject and merit debate, but terrorism is murder.”

President Obama, Friedman continues, revealed his “true face” towards Israel when he instructed the US delegation to the UN to withhold its veto during a vote on an anti-Israel resolution at the UN Security Council last December.

“Obama revealed his true face to Israel last December when, at the very end of his presidency when he was already a lame duck president and had no political responsibility, one of his last moves was the decision to withhold the veto from the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334.”

Nor is this the first time Friedman has openly expressed criticism of the former president since becoming ambassador, calling the 2015 Iran nuclear deal “an absolute betrayal of Israel”.

“I thought it was an absolute betrayal of Israel by the Obama administration, as sharp a betrayal as any president I think has ever inflicted upon Israel,” Friedman told The Jerusalem Post recently.

In the Post interview, Friedman also ripped the Obama administration over its comparison of Israeli construction in Judea and Samaria with Arab terror attacks.

“I understand that 'settlements' are an issue, and I don’t have the slightest problem with people wanting to discuss settlements in the context of peace negotiations, but settlements and terrorism do not belong in the same sentence. Not the same paragraph, not the same report, because the killing of innocent life, of innocent civilian life, is so much more abhorrent and repugnant and inconsistent with a peace process than the building of apartments.”

Speaking with Israel Hayom, which will release the full interview with Friedman on Wednesday, the ambassador said ties between the US and Israel were strong but complex; comparing the relationship to that of two family members.

“The deep and complex relationship between Israel and the US is akin to that of two members of the same family.”

Amid rumors that US National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster clashed with a delegation of Israeli officials last month – a claim denied by both White House and Israeli embassy officials in Washington – Friedman stated that American security officials tend to be staunch supporters of the Jewish state.

“I spend a lot of time with senior US security officials, and they love Israel.”

“They understand Israel, and Israel understands them. One of the deepest bonds the two countries share is based on security.”

Turning to negotiations aimed at a final status agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Friedman denied his support for Israel and family ties – including a daughter who recently immigrated to Israel – would impair him from serving as an honest broker.

“I will never try to argue that the Palestinian people haven’t suffered dearly, and I hope that on the Palestinian side they won’t try to make the argument that our pain and our hope, that of the Jewish people, are not real as well. The point is not to try to argue that one side is right and the other side is wrong.”

Friedman also addressed Israel’s relationship with American Jewry, fretting that public spats over Israel’s conversion law and the Reform Movement’s demands for alterations to the status quo at the Western Wall Plaza could potentially harm the historic relationship between Israel and the largest Diaspora community.

“[These] are issues that need to be handled quietly and respectfully. It’s not simple, but they have to be dealt with. I don’t think that everyone in Israel understands just how important the American Jewish community is and how an incredibly important source of political and economic support for Israel it is.”

“The way Israel relates to the American Jewish community will to a large extend determine the ability of the community to survive in the next generation. If two or three million Jews feel that they’re being pushed away by Israel, that will negatively impact the ability of the community to maintain its strength.”








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