Nabil Abu Rudeineh (Arab news)

“We stress our rejection and condemnation of this harmful behavior by Ambassador Friedman,” a leading Palestinian official stated.

Palestinian presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh on Wednesday responded to statements by the US ambassador to Israel David Friedman criticizing the Palestinian leadership for Palestinian terrorism by claiming that “the Israeli occupation and the settlement policy” are the main reason for violence in the region.

Responding to Monday’s attack, in which an Arab stabbed and murdered Rabbi Itamar Ben Gal at the entrance to the city of Ariel in Samaria, Friedman tweeted, “20 years ago I gave an ambulance to Har Bracha hoping it would be used to deliver healthy babies. Instead, a man from Har Bracha was just murdered by a terrorist, leaving behind a wife and four children.”

Ben Gal was a resident of Har Bracha, and was buried in his hometown.

“Palestinian ‘leaders’ have praised the killer,” Friedman charged.

“The statements by the US ambassador lead us to wonder about the ambassador’s relationship with the occupation: Does he represent the US or Israel?” wondered Abu Rudeineh.

He asserted that “the only way to end violence in the region and the world is to solve the Palestinian issue based on United Nations resolutions that call for an end to the occupation and the creation of the Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.”

He further charged that “the ambassador’s advice and consultations, which are not aimed at achieving a just peace based on international legality, have led to this crisis in US-Palestinian relations.”

“Rather than contributing to the creation of atmospheres for peace, Ambassador Friedman is instead making the situation more tense by providing pretexts for such acts of violence, which we reject,” he added.

“We stress our rejection and condemnation of this harmful behavior by Ambassador Friedman,” he concluded.

US Officials Should ‘Shut Up’?

US officials have repeatedly charged the Palestinian leadership with actions and rhetoric that have generated violence, eliciting severe and ferocious reactions from the Palestinians.

US Ambassador to the United Nations (UN) Nikki Haley recently accused Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas of not truly seeking peace, prompting senior Palestinian official and lead negotiator Saeb Erekat to insult her by calling her “impudent” and saying she should learn to “shut up” and refrain from criticizing Abbas.

“Nikki Haley needs to shut up and realize that the Palestinian leadership is not the problem,” said the top diplomat, who in the past has led the Palestinian peace negotiations, in an interview with the Al-Watan Voice news website. “Instead, the problem is the Israeli occupation and the policies it continues to pursue.”

In her speech last week, Haley slammed Abbas for peddling “outrageous and discredited conspiracy theories” during an angry speech last month in which he denounced Trump.

“President Abbas declared the landmark Oslo Peace Accords dead. He rejected any American role in peace talks. He insulted the American President. He called for suspending recognition of Israel. He invoked an ugly and fictional past, reaching back to the 17th century to paint Israel as a colonialist project engineered by European powers,” Haley said.

Despite his aggressive comments, Erekat insisted that the Palestinian leadership doesn’t “seek a confrontation or a fight with the US administration.”