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You are here News Human Rights Trump ambassador blocks scrutiny of Israel

Trump ambassador blocks scrutiny of Israel

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Daid Friedman, US envoy to IsraelLast October, the U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, emailed State Department colleagues with a firm message: Don’t second-guess the Israeli military.

State Department officials had recently asked U.S. embassies in the Middle East to more carefully examine American military assistance to governments in the region, including Israel. The goal was to ensure the department wasn’t violating a law barring U.S. security aid to foreign military units that commit serious human rights abuses. Some Democrats in Congress have questioned whether Israel’s military — which receives an annual $3.1 billion from the United States, more than any other nation — might be guilty of human rights infractions against Palestinians.

Friedman dismissed the possibility. In the email to colleagues, he rejected the idea that his embassy needed to enhance its scrutiny of military aid, saying he did “not believe we should extend the new [guidelines] to Israel at this time.”

“Israel is a democracy whose army does not engage in gross violations of human rights,” Friedman wrote, adding that Israel “has a robust system of investigation and prosecution in the rare circumstance where misconduct occurs.” Besides, he added, “it would be against [U.S.] national interests” to take a step that could limit Israel’s access to military equipment – “especially in a time of war.”

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