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Trump’s Israel adviser says settlements not illegal

At pro-Trump rally in Jerusalem, David Friedman says Republican candidate ‘tremendously skeptical’ about prospect of two-state solution

David Friedman, Donald Trump's Israel envoy-nominee, speaking to reporters at a pro-Trump event in Jerusalem, October 26, 2016. (Raphael Ahren/Times of Israel)
David Friedman, Donald Trump's Israel envoy-nominee, speaking to reporters at a pro-Trump event in Jerusalem, October 26, 2016. (Raphael Ahren/Times of Israel)

Donald Trump’s adviser on Israel said Wednesday that Jewish settlements in the West Bank are not illegal and he believes the candidate agrees with him.

Speaking to AFP after a rally in support of Trump at a restaurant’s rooftop on Jerusalem’s Mount Zion, David Friedman also said the US presidential candidate was “tremendously skeptical” about the prospects for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Asked whether Trump viewed the West Bank as part of Israel, as many right-wing Israelis do, Friedman did not answer directly.

“I don’t think he believes that the settlements are illegal,” Friedman said.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump during the grand opening of the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC, October 26, 2016. (AFP Photo/Mandel Ngan)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump during the grand opening of the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC, October 26, 2016. (AFP Photo/Mandel Ngan)

The United States has intensified criticism of Israeli settlement building in the West Bank in recent months, warning it is eating away at hopes for a two-state solution.

Around 150 people, including right-wing Israelis and evangelical Christians, attended Wednesday’s rally outside the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City.

Friedman reiterated that Trump would recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the US embassy there.

There were chants of “lock her up” when Trump’s Democrat rival Hillary Clinton’s name was mentioned at the rally ahead of the November 8 vote — a common refrain among Trump supporters who want to see her jailed over an emails scandal.

“I hate Hillary. She’s the same like (Barack) Obama,” said Ran Hofman, 54, who waved an Israeli flag. “They screw up the whole world.”

A video message from Trump of about one minute was played at the event.

“Together we will stand up to the enemies like Iran, bent on destroying Israel and her people,” Trump said. “Together we will make America and Israel safe again.”

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