In his May 7, 2020 column in the Palestinian Authority daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, political analyst Bassem Barhoum lashed out at U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman. The column, titled "Friedman Is a War Criminal," was published in response to an interview Friedman gave to the Israeli daily Israel Hayom, in which he stated that the U.S. is willing to recognize an Israeli annexation of parts of the West Bank.
Calling Friedman a "racist fascist" who had "drafted the annexation maps and incorporated them into" the Trump administration's peace initiative known as the Deal of the Century and "uses his role to forcefully create facts on the ground," Barhoum added that Friedman should be seen not as an ambassador but as a war criminal, and should be brought to trial before the International Criminal Court. He also called for revoking all agreements with Israel and for "taking the conflict back to square one," while renewing the Palestinian claim to all of Israel "from the river to the sea," and added that cities within Israel proper, such as Acre and Jaffa, are equal under the law to West Bank cities like Nablus and Hebron.
Bassem Barhoum (source: Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, London, May 7, 2020)
The following are translated excerpts from the column:
"The Palestinian people have known a long series of extremist, racist, and hate-filled Zionists – both Jewish and non-Jewish, for the Zionist project is a global imperialist one. But David Friedman is the most insolent, extremist, and racist of them all. He is a war criminal and we will act to bring him to trial before the International Criminal Court. This settler speaks as though Palestine is his own private property. He does not wish to see [Israeli] politicians show any form of hesitation or opposition to the annexation [of parts of the West Bank], and he is even more extreme than Netanyahu when he tells [Netanyahu] to declare the annexation now, before any changes that may delay this move.
"No word or entry in the traditional lexicon is sufficient to describe this extremist Zionist. He does not [even try to] hide his violation of international law. On the contrary – he insists on violating it and even urges [others] to do so. He acts as though it his responsibility to fulfill 'the divine promise to the Jewish people' and to actualize the Zionist narrative, and as though international law is meaningless in the face of this [divine] promise. Let's not forget that this is the settler who drafted the annexation maps and incorporated them into the Deal of the Century, based on the vision he shares with [Jared] Kushner, and out of a desire to see his name go down in history alongside the names of other great Zionists such as Herzl, Balfour, Weissman and Ben Gurion.
"Friedman is well aware that no [U.S.] president except Trump would agree to the annexation plan as it was proposed. He is also aware that the world is [currently] preoccupied with the coronavirus pandemic and its potential impact on the global economy and geopolitical situation. Hence, this war criminal decided to race against time and declare the annexation [right now], before any changes could thwart [the plan]...
"This settler cannot be regarded as an ambassador in the usual diplomatic sense of the word, for he is a war criminal who uses his role to forcefully create facts on the ground. He is a descendent of fascism and of racist hatred in its most hideous form. Hence, the first step [to be taken] is to bring this fascist to trial before the International Criminal Court, as a war criminal – not just for violating international law but for threatening global security and peace, for he is shattering any chance of making peace in the region.
"We are aware of the objective and subjective reality that encouraged the Trump gang to continue [on its path], and [we are aware] that this conflict will not be resolved by hoping and trusting that the world's conscience will [suddenly] awaken. This conscience has been conspiring with the Zionist enterprise since the days when this enterprise was only an idea. The Palestinian people, whose leadership has refused to submit to Trump, Kushner, and Friedman, will continue to stand firm and fight, generation after generation, until it defeats this imperialist Zionist enterprise, and we have no one to rely on but ourselves.
"In practice, what we need is to prepare ourselves to actualize the renunciation of all the agreements [with Israel] and take the conflict back to square one. Palestine stretches from the river to the sea. It is the historic homeland of the Palestinian people, and therefore Acre is no different from Nablus and Jaffa which are no different from Hebron. At the same time, we must hold [Hamas] historically and nationally accountable and call on it to end the [intra-Palestinian] schism, for no [internal] schism is more important and dangerous than the annihilation of the [Palestinian] cause. Any hesitation on Hamas's part [in this regard] will be taken as an indication that it is still betting on [its] state in Gaza. Freidman and all the other racists have drawn encouragement from this [intra-Palestinian] schism. Will we wait until Friedman and Netanyahu actualize the threat of annexation?"