HEART ON HIS SLEEVE

Report: Trump’s Envoy to Israel Sought to Block Scrutiny of Country’s Military Aid

U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman reportedly defied a request by the State Department last October to review U.S. military aid to the country over human-rights concerns. State Department officials had asked all U.S. embassies in the Middle East to examine American military assistance to ensure U.S. aid wasn’t being given to foreign military units guilty of human-rights abuses. According to Politico, Friedman responded by sending out an email to colleagues saying the new guidelines should not apply to Israel. “Israel is a democracy whose army does not engage in gross violations of human rights,” he was quoted as writing, adding that it “would be against [U.S.] national interests” to take any step toward limiting aid to Israel. Friedman made the remarks months before the Israeli military came under international scrutiny for killing Palestinians at the Gaza border, but his stance has renewed concerns that the Trump administration’s pro-Israel leanings may hinder Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts.