Leah Parker-Bernstein: Concerns about nominee as ambassador to Israel

Although President Trump has stated that he will work toward peace in the region and has suggested that settlement expansion in the West Bank does not help the peace process, David Friedman's nomination contradicts this commitment.

In a letter sent to members of the Foreign Relations Committee, the former diplomats said David Friedman has staked out "extreme, radical positions" and has derided the two-state solution as an "illusory" fix for a non-existent problem. Friedman is prepared to apologize in his hearing for his most inflammatory comments, according to a State Department official who asked not to be identified because the plans haven't been made public. He'll also draw fire for previous criticism of supporters of a two-state solution, likening them to "kapos" - Jews who oversaw fellow concentration camp prisoners under the Nazis during World War II. "American Jews are against this man and stand for freedom and dignity for all", said one of the protesters.

The former envoys wrote that Friedman has said he does not believe it would be illegal for Israel to annex Yehudah and Shomron and has been active in supporting the Jewish presence there. If you want me to rationalize or justify it I can not.

"I think so", Friedman said.

"We are concerned that Mr Friedman strongly disagrees". He says his use of incendiary comments is "entirely over". Marco Rubio of Florida and Sen.

The hearing takes place the day after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's met with US President Donald Trump at the White House, and Friedman's nomination has been met with opposition.

Friedman has suggested moving the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and annexing the West Bank, and has raised millions of dollars to support Beit El, one of the most radical Israeli settlements.

"I'm looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like", he said.

In fact, however, many politicians and thinkers on both sides of the Israeli spectrum have declared the two-state plan unworkable.

While Friedman, 58, will likely be approved by the Republican-led Senate, he'll face tough questions over Trump's position on a two-state solution for the conflict and his proposal to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a shift opposed by Arab allies who say it will kill prospects for peace.

Friedman, the son of an Orthodox rabbi, enjoys the support of far-right pro-Israel groups such as the Zionist Organization of America and Christians United for Israel. We absolutely support a two-state solution. "We have to start thinking differently". "It makes sense to tread very carefully there", Friedman said, echoing words used by Trump.

"I have reached out over the last few months to a number of people who have been hurt by the things I have said", he said.

Befitting a businessman lawyer under a former businessman president, Friedman pressed that Palestinians need a middle-class and more economic opportunities, emphasizing it as an area that could be improved with or without a final agreement.

A general view of the West Bank settlement of Beit El is seen near Ramallah Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017.

The controversy over Friedman's nomination erupted in the hearing room as Friedman began his opening statement, with several hecklers including a man who held up the Palestinian flag and shouted about Palestinian claims to the land of Israel.

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