A senior Palestinian politician has condemned newly elected US President Donald Trump’s choice of ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, a right-wing lawyer who has vowed to move the US embassy to Jerusalem. The secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), Saeb Erekat has said Moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem before a final agreement on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict will be the destruction of the peace process. Erekat’s remarks came as Israeli officials praised Trump’s decision to nominate Friedman, who is also a staunch supporter of Israeli settlements. The West Bank-based Palestinian Authority says Jerusalem should be the capital of a Palestinian state in any future two-state solution agreement.
Erekat warned of the potential outcome of moving the embassy and a change in the long-standing position of the United States that considers the settlements as illegal. he said “I look David Friedman and Trump in the eye and tell them – if you were to take these steps of moving the embassy and annexing settlements in the West Bank, you are sending this region down the path of something that I call ‘chaos, lawlessness and extremism.”
In a Trump transition team statement on Thursday announcing his appointment, Friedman said he wanted to work for peace and looked forward to doing this from the US embassy in Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem. Trump’s spokesman Jason Miller said on Friday that Friedman had the president-elect’s full support and that the plan to move the embassy would stand
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and members of his right-wing government on Friday welcomed Friedman’s nomination. Netanyahu has vowed to continue his illegal settlement expansion. In March 2015, the day before Israelis re-elected him, Netanyahu promised to prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state on his watch.The far-right deputy foreign minister Tzipi Hotovely called the appointment of Friedman as a “Good news for Israel” while education minister Naftali Bennett, of the ultra-nationalist Jewish Home party, said that Friedman was a great friend of Israel.
The US and most UN member states syill do not recognise Israel’s claim to all of Jerusalem as its capital. Ramy Abdu, of Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor, said that the UN regarded any actions taken by Israel, the occupying power, to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration in Jerusalem as illegal.
Meanwhile Hamas blamed Israel for the killing of its commander” Mohammed al-Zawari”, an aviation engineer who worked on the development of unmanned aerial vehicles, and vowed to take revenge. Zawari, 49, had been in Tunisia only a few days when he was shot dead outside his home by multiple gunshots while in his car near Sfax, 270km southeast of Tunis, on Thursday.
Four rental cars were used in the killing and two handguns and suppressors were seized, Tunisia’s interior ministry said.
A judicial spokesman from Sfax, Mourad Tourki, told Tunisian radio Shems FM that eight Tunisian nationals had been arrested in connection with the killing. Hamas, the Palestinian group that governs the Gaza Strip, confirmed that Zawari had been a member of its military wing for the past 10 years, and spearheaded its drone program. “The assassination of the commander Mohammed al-Zawari in Tunisia is a reminder for all Arab and Muslim nations that the Zionist enemy and its agents are roaming free in the region, playing their dirty roles, and it is time for this cowardly treacherous hand to be cut,” Hamas’ Qassam Brigades said in a statement.
on the other hand, Israeli Minister Tzachi Hanegbi, told “I hope this issue will not be ascribed to us, that it is not connected to us and that none of those people arrested are our allies.”
Tunisia’s Islamist Ennahdha movement has called for an investigation into the killing, which it said posed a threat to the country’s stability. Israeli secret intelligence group, Mossad is also believed to have been behind the murder like the 2010 murder of top Hamas commander Mahmud al-Mabhuh in a Dubai hotel.