Ron Estes Letter to the Editor

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According to the Associated Press, the U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, raised eyebrows recently by saying that, "They (Israelis) are only occupying 2 percent of the West Bank," and that “settlements there are part of the Jewish state proper.”

The facts.

Since 1967, Israel has taken 42 percent of the West Bank and annexed land in East Jerusalem for settlements, by issuing declarations of “state land:” government decrees that authorized seizure of more than 900,000 dunams (222,394.86 acres) of Palestinian land and settlements themselves seizing privately-owned Palestinian land simply by attacking and chasing Palestinians off their land.

The settlements are a violation of article 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention. It reads: "The occupying power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own population into the territories it occupies.” Breaches of the convention are prosecutable as war crimes by the ICC in the Hague.

Why doesn’t Ambassador Friedman know that?

"I think the settlements are part of Israel," Ambassador Friedman said in an interview with the Israeli news site Walla.

The facts.

In 1948, under the aegis of UNGA resolution 181, Israel declared statehood. Part II of that resolution detailed precisely the borders of Israel. Judea, Samaria (the West Bank) Gaza and Jerusalem were not within those borders.

The land outside those borders were designated Palestinian territory and Jerusalem was designated an international city, “corpus separatum,” to be managed under UN auspices.

Friedman has also referred to the "alleged occupation" of Palestinian territories.

The facts.

The UN Security Council has declared Israeli-occupied territories to be "the Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem." The UN Security Council made that declaration in 27 UNSC Resolutions. A conference of the parties to the 4th Geneva Convention, the ICRC and the Israel Supreme Court have also resolved that these territories are occupied. The Israeli court said: "Judea and Samaria [West Bank] and the Gaza area are lands seized during warfare, and are not part of Israel.”

Why doesn’t Ambassador Friedman know that?

Israel has illegally occupied those Palestinian territories for 50 years.

Friedman is a member of President Donald Trump's team spearheading efforts to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

He must be recalled. He has not learned whose national interests he represents in Israel. And perhaps the person responsible for appointing him hasn’t learned that either.

The author of this letter served 25 years as an operations officer in the CIA Clandestine Service.

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