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Trump’s new US envoy to Israel seeks Jerusalem base

US President-elect Donald Trump has chosen lawyer David Friedman to serve as America’s ambassador to Israel.

The 57-year-old advised Mr Trump on US-Israel issues during the campaign.

A statement by Mr Trump’s transition team said Mr Friedman’s “strong relationships in Israel will form the foundation of his diplomatic mission”.

Mr Friedman said he looked forward to working “from the US Embassy in Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem”, a move that will anger the Palestinians.

The status of Jerusalem is one of the most contentious issues between Israel and the Palestinians.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war and considers the entire city its indivisible capital; Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

The United Nations does not recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and the US embassy has been located in Tel Aviv for decades.

But Mr Trump had promised during the presidential campaign to move it to Jerusalem, one of several overtures he made to Israel.

J Street, a liberal pro-Israel group based in Washington, said it was “vehemently” opposed to the nomination of Mr Friedman.

“As someone who has been a leading American friend of the settlement movement, who lacks any diplomatic or policy credentials and who has attacked liberal Jews who support two states as ‘worse than kapos’, Friedman should be beyond the pale for senators considering who should represent the United States in Israel.”

Kapos were Jewish prisoners in Nazi camps in World War II who the SS put in charge of other inmates. They have been viewed by some as complicit in the brutal treatment of other prisoners.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has not enjoyed warm relations with Democratic President Barack Obama, has welcomed Mr Trump’s election.

 

Source: BBC

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