US Amb.: Decision to build Arab units in Area C - Israel's alone

Amb. Friedman says US not involved in Israeli Cabinet decision to approve construction of 715 units in Arab villages of Area C.

Tal Polon ,

David Friedman
David Friedman
Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said that the Israeli Cabinet's decision to approve plans for the construction of 715 housing units in Palestinian Arab villages in Judea and Samaria's Area C was a purely Israeli decision, and that the US administration was not involved in it.

"Area C" defined by the Oslo Accords is supposed to be under full Israeli civilian and military control. Its area constitutes about 60 percent of Judea and Samaria.

A source close to Friedman told Kan 11 on Wednesday evening that the ambassador did not encourage or make a specific request about the issue.

Nevertheless, he praised the move afterward, telling CNN on Tuesday that “We think it’s good for Israel and good for the Palestinians. It’s a matter of real significance and importance to us to improve the quality of life."

On Wednesday evening, White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner and US Envoy Jason Greenblatt met with Prime Minister Netanyahu at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem.

US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook, Friedman and Israel's Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer also participated in the meeting.

On Monday, the head of the Binyamin Council Yisrael Gantz and Samaria Council head Yossi Dagan issued a joint statement in which they sharply attacked the plan ultimately approved by the Cabinet.

"The report of a Cabinet hearing aimed at approving building plans for Arabs in Area C is particularly alarming," the two noted in their statement.

"The Palestinian Authority, assisted and financed by foreign entities, is carrying out massive illegal construction in these areas with one clear purpose - the establishment of a terrorist state in the heart of the country. We hope this does not constitute a signal as to the direction of the government that will be formed after the elections."