US ambassador to Israel David Friedman during a visit to Efrat, February 20, 2020. (Flash90/Gershon Elinson) (Flash90/Gershon Elinson)
US ambassador to Israel David Friedman

Official Palestinian Authority newspaper calls U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman a war criminal and threatens to file charges against him in the International Criminal Court.

By Yakir Benzion, United With Israel

The official daily newspaper of the Palestinian Authority wrote that U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman is a “war criminal” and the Palestinians were working to put him on trial at the International Criminal Court, Palestine Media Watch said Tuesday.

The PA’s official mouthpiece, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, recently carried an article that PMW tracked and translated from Arabic into English, said Maurice Hirsch, Director of Legal Strategies at the watchdog organization. PMW regularly monitors Palestinian news outlets to translate what is being said in Arabic and bring it to the attention of the English-speaking world.

Bassem Barhoum, a regular Al-Hayat Al-Jadida columnist, wrote a piece on May 7 that attacked the respected American diplomat.

“The Palestinian people has experienced a long list of extremist, racist, and hate-filled Zionists, Jews and non-Jews alike, because the Zionist project is a project of global colonialism,” Barhoum wrote. “But Ambassador David Friedman is the most insolent, most extreme, and most racist. He is a war criminal, and we will work to bring him before the International Criminal Court.”

“He is the descendant of racist fascism and hatred of the ugliest kind. Therefore, the first step is to bring this fascist before the ICC as a war criminal,” Barhoum said.

Barhoum ended his column by showing how Palestinian officials reject the two-state solution, saying: “Palestine is from the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea. It is the Palestinian people’s historical homeland, and the status of Acre [Akko, north of Haifa] is the status of Nablus [Shechem], and the status of Jaffa [part of Tel Aviv] is the status of Hebron.”

Barhoum’s comments came in response to a Friedman interview in the Israel Hayom newspaper in which the ambassador said that if Israel moved to apply sovereignty over settlements in Judea and Samaria and parts of the Jordan Valley then the U.S. was ready to recognize that decision.

Friedman said that the Trump “administration knows that, just as Americans would never relinquish the area on which the Statue of Liberty stands, even though it’s a very small area, Israel would never agree to give up these places.”

Hirsch noted the call to bring Ambassador Friedman before the ICC lacked any factual or legal basis and was clearly outrageous. However, he added that ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda might not care, given that previous PMW work revealed that Bensouda appears to be actively colluding with both the Palestinian Authority and Palestinian terrorists groups.

Although only states can join the ICC, Bensouda decided that contrary to international law the non-existent country of “Palestine” qualifies as a “state” and she is willing to prosecute Palestinian claims that Israeli housing on land liberated in 1967 constitutes a “war crime.”

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