U.S. ambassador to Israel David Friedman recently asked the State Department to cease using the term “occupied” in official documents to describe Israel’s control of the West Bank, Israel Broadcasting Corporation reported Tuesday. The State Department objected to the request but agreed to discuss the matter soon due to “high-level” pressure. No explanation has been provided by the U.S. or Israel on the matter.
Friedman was a controversial candidate for U.S. ambassador due to his support for illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank as well as derogatory statements made against liberal Jewish groups. International law views the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, as “occupied territory” and considers all Jewish settlements there to be illegal. Jerusalem remains at the heart of the Middle East conflict, with Palestinians hoping that East Jerusalem might eventually serve as the capital of an independent state.