Ambassador David Friedman
Ambassador David Friedman Flash 90

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman on Tuesday visited the city of Ariel in Samaria, where he met with a group of Israeli and Palestinian Arab business leaders to discuss joint economic ventures.

The meeting was organized by the Judea and Samaria Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which promotes Israeli-Palestinian Arab commercial partnerships beyond the Green Line.

Friedman’s visit is the first ever official visit by a sitting American ambassador to areas located beyond the pre-1967 borders, as ambassadors under past administrations had never entered these areas which the international community considers “occupied territory”.

Friedman tweeted about the visit to Ariel, urging Palestinian Authority (PA) leaders to work to promote coexistence in the area.

“At the invitation of the Judea and Samaria Chamber of Commerce, I met in Ariel with Palestinian and Israeli business leaders ready, willing and able to advance joint opportunity and peaceful coexistence. People want peace and we are ready to help! Is the Palestinian leadership listening?” he wrote.

The PA has been boycotting the US ever since President Donald Trump announced last December that the US recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and would be relocating its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The PA, angered by Trump’s move, broke off contact with the US after the announcement and refuses to consider the Trump administration an honest broker for peace negotiations with Israel.

PA leaders have been particularly critical of Friedman. PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas insulted the ambassador in March, calling him a "son of a dog" and a "settler."

Friedman later fired back, saying, "Three Jews were killed in cold blood by the Palestinian terrorists, and the reaction from the Palestinian Authority was deafening. No condemnation whatsoever. I pointed that out, without further adjectives, without further commentary."

"Abu Mazen (Abbas) chose to respond. ... His response was to refer to me as the 'son of a dog.' Anti-Semitism, or political discourse? Not for me to judge. I'll leave that all up to you."