The U.S. ambassador in Jerusalem says Israel has the right to retain parts, but not all, of the West Bank.
David Friedman's remarks in an interview with The New York Times published Saturday comes about two months after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to begin annexing parts of the West Bank.
It's unclear if the ambassador was revealing a component of the long-awaited Trump administration Mideast peace plan.
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The Palestinians want statehood in the West Bank and Gaza, with a capital in east Jerusalem. Last year, Washington announced it recognized the city as Israel's capital.
Most of the world considers Israeli settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem illegal.
The Palestinians condemned Friedman's remarks, and Israeli group Peace Now said he was "a Trojan horse on behalf of the settler right," calling on Trump to fire him.