The US Ambassador to Israel revealed on Wednesday three key elements of the long-awaited American Middle East peace plan known as the "deal of the century", Anadolu has reported. David Friedman, who is a member of the three-man team tasked with formulating the plan, told this week's American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference in Washington that the plan would give Israel full security control over the occupied West Bank.
Friedman is a strong supporter of Israel's illegal settlements across the occupied Palestinian territories. He added that the deal will allow Israel to maintain a permanent security presence in the Jordan Valley.
"Can we leave this to an administration [in Washington] that may not understand the need for Israel to maintain overriding security control of Judea and Samaria [the West Bank] and a permanent defence position in the Jordan Valley?" he asked. The current administration, he pointed out, would continue to work with Israel, the Palestinians and other regional players in pursuit of a final peace deal.
With regard to Jerusalem, Friedman claimed that "For the first time in 2,000 years, Jerusalem has become a dynamic and prosperous city fully open to worshippers of all three faiths." He ignored the armed incursions by Jewish settlers at the Noble Sanctuary of Al-Aqsa and the frequent lock-outs of Muslims from Al-Aqsa Mosque. Moreover, Palestinians are being driven out of the city by Israel's apartheid policies which remove their residence rights and allow illegal settlers to take over their homes.
In the wake of US President Donald Trump's recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Syrian Golan Heights, the ambassador noted that, without annexation of the territory, "Syria would be right on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, which provides 40 per cent of Israel's fresh water." International law clearly takes second place to Israel's security, said observers.
In response, Secretary-General of the PLO Saeb Erekat tweeted, "Trump, Netanyahu, and their teams should look in the mirror every time a Palestinian or an Israeli is killed to know who is responsible." The veteran negotiator went on to cite a recent tweet by Aaron David Miller, a prominent American Middle East analyst, who said: "Based on Trump's moves on Jerusalem and Golan, it's clear he's revolutionising US policy. Maybe parts of the West Bank are next."