Israel occupies 'just 2 percent' of West Bank, says United States ambassador

A Palestinian youth crawls in a tunnel during a graduation ceremony for a training camp run by the Hamas movement

Abbas has always been a critic of violence, but has remained quiet in the past when attacks against Israelis took place in the West Bank.

"There is important nationalistic, historical [and] religious significance to those settlements, and I think the settlers view themselves as Israelis and Israel views the settlers as Israelis".

Friedman explained that the various United Nations resolutions upon which the peace process is based never required Israel to surrender the entirety of the territory it liberated from Jordanian occupation in 1967. Trump has indirectly endorsed the construction of Israeli settlements and has even hinted that Washington might consider moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem; foreign policy moves that might impede the realisation of a two-state solution.

( In an out-of-the-ordinary statement by an American official, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said in an interview Thursday he believes that settlements are "part of Israel".

Legally speaking, Israel occupies 100% of the West Bank, though as a practical matter deals with the Palestinian Authority ceding some security control in certain areas has the European Union estimating about 60% of the West Bank under direct military occupation. "There was always supposed to be some expectation of [Israeli] expansion" into Judea and Samaria.

"The idea was that Israel would be entitled to secure borders", he told Israeli Walla. From more news and updates, please visit our website at today's report has been brought to you by George Rishmawi and me Ghassan Bannoura.

Meanwhile, al-Ayyam said Palestine's representative to Washington Hosam Zomlot met with USA officials to discuss peace efforts.

According to the 1994 internationally recognized deal establishing the Palestinian Authority, Israel maintains full military and civilian control of 60% of the West Bank in addition to military control over another 22% of the area and full control of its borders.

The illegal construction of Israeli settlements on Palestinian lands serves as the major obstacle to a peaceful two-state settlement of the decade's long conflict.

The Yesha Council, which represents settlers across the occupied West Bank, welcomed the ambassador's comments.

"It should not be read as a change in United States policy".

"We'll try to get it done right, not done fast", Friedman added.