United States Ambassador to Israel David Friedman is pushing for a change in policy and refer in his speeches and statements to Judea and Samaria by their names, rather than the politically correct “West Bank”, officials told the Associated Press.
After several neighboring countries agitated for a war in 1967, Israel responded in what became known as the Six Day War. Against all odds, Israel defeated numerous enemy nations and captured key areas in the Holy Land, including Judea and Samaria and the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
Judea and Samaria were the heart of biblical Israel. Judea took its name from Judah, the tribe of the Davidic dynasty that ruled the southern kingdom from approximately 1000 BCE until 586 BCE. The Jewish people today are largely descendants of the inhabitants of the Kingdom of Judah.
These areas have become known internationally as the West Bank due to their location west of the Jordan River, which separates the territories from Jordan.
If confirmed, the revelation would fit Friedman’s recent moves. Last September, Friedman stated that he fully regards Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria as part of Israel. He also was heavily involved in the lobbying last year for the American embassy’s relocation to Jerusalem, and requested the State Department to stop describing Judea and Samaria as “occupied”, a highly contentious term, leading to a change of policy in the department’s annual human rights report. Previous editions contained a section on “Israel and the Occupied Territories,” but this year’s publication instead addresses “Israel, Golan Heights, West Bank and Gaza.”
Friedman’s clear support for Israel has won him admirers in some quarters, and much hatred from others. P.A. leader Mahmoud Abbas was so incensed that he called the US ambassador to Israel a “son of a dog” because of his support for Israelis in Judea and Samaria.
The United States recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in December 2017 and relocate its embassy accordingly. The new American embassy is due to be unveiled on May 14, the Gregorian anniversary of Israel’s founding. Consequently, Guatemala, Romania and the Czech Republic announced plans to follow suit. Honduran president Juan Hernandez has declared his intention to move his county’s embassy as well.
A significant American delegation, headed by current CIA director Mike Pompeo, and around 40 senators, joined by congressmen and prominent Jewish leaders, are expected to attend the embassy’s opening ceremony.