Monday

30th Nov 2020

US compares its military in Germany to Israel in Palestine

  • Israeli troops in Hebron. The briefing from the US ambassador to Israel came in the wake of Donald Trump's 'deal of the century' on Israel/Palestine (Photo: Nikolaj Nielsen)

The United States has compared its troop presence in Germany to Israeli security forces patrolling a future Palestinian state.

Briefing reporters around the globe, including in Brussels, over the phone, US ambassador to Israel David Friedman rejected any notion that Israel's security dominance in the envisaged Palestinian state under president Donald Trump's so-called "deal of the century" is tantamount to occupation.

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"The United States has military presence all over the world. We have presence in Germany, Japan, South Korea, Philippines, I mean...none of those countries consider themselves occupied by the United States and certainly don't consider ourselves to be occupiers," he said on Wednesday (29 January).

The comments follow a plan drafted by Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner to create a new Palestinian state almost entirely surrounded by Israel.

Aside from redrawing West Bank borders and handing over most of Jerusalem to the Israelis as a unified capital city, the plan also gives Israel full security-control over an envisaged Palestinian state.

More specifically, the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) would control security from the River Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea. They will not leave the West Bank.

"I would expect in a few years that the primary internal security would be handled by the Palestinians, that is certainly the aspiration," said Friedman.

The whole deal has been firmly rejected by the Palestinian side.

For its part, the EU says it will first study the US proposal but insisted any solution must result in "a viable two-state solution" and respect"all relevant UN resolutions and internationally agreed parameters".

Last year, the EU described US recognition of Israel's 1981 annexation of the Golan Heights from Syria as a legal backwards step.

"All settlement activity is illegal under international law and it erodes the viability of the two-state solution and the prospects for a lasting peace," the EU said at time.

Yet Trump's proposal includes giving the Israelis sovereignty over illegal settlements in the West Bank.

Some three million Palestinians live in the West Bank alone, of which up to 35 percent are UN-registered refugees.

Israel took control of the West Bank in 1967 and then cut it up into hundreds of disconnected bits, resulting in some 150 settlements and a 100 settlement outposts.

It also erected around 700 obstacles such as road blocks and checkpoints, mostly clustered in and around east Jerusalem.

Trump's deal also demanded Israel freezes settlement construction for four years.

Meanwhile, its leadership under Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu now plans to annex some 30 percent of territory in the West Bank and parts of the Jordan Valley.

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