Trump's choice for Israel ambassador is his bankruptcy lawyer, a hard-liner on West Bank settlements

Donald Trump names Israel hard-liner for Israel ambassador
(Image credit: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

On Thursday, President-elect Donald Trump announced he has selected David M. Friedman, a New York bankruptcy lawyer with strong ties to Israel's hawkish right, as his pick for ambassador to Israel. Friedman represented Trump in bankruptcy cases tied to his Atlantic City casinos and has been "a long-time friend and trusted adviser to me," including during the campaign, Trump said in a statement, adding that Friedman's "strong relationships in Israel will form the foundation of his diplomatic mission."

Friedman immediately set off controversy by saying he looks forward to strengthening the "unbreakable bond" between Israel and the U.S. "from the U.S. embassy in Israel's eternal capital, Jerusalem." For decades, U.S. presidents have kept the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv, since Jerusalem is claimed as capital by both Israel and the Palestinians; the State Department has long asserted that the city's status must be resolved in a negotiated peace deal. Friedman has also disagreed with most of the world and U.S. policy since 1967 by calling Jewish settlements in the West Bank "legal" and fair game for Israeli annexation.

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