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US envoy: Trump team thinking ‘out of the box’ for Middle East peace plan

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman at the Israeli Knesset on 25 July 2017 [US Embassy Tel Aviv/Flickr]
US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman at the Israeli Knesset on 25 July 2017 [US Embassy Tel Aviv/Flickr]

US envoy to Israel David Friedman has said the Trump administration’s peace plan is an attempt to “think out of the box and capture the imagination and hopes of both sides for a better life”.

Speaking to the Jerusalem Post yesterday, the ambassador rejected claims that there is a lack of interest from both Israelis and Palestinians in what the White House has to offer.

“I don’t think there is a lack of interest; I think there is exhaustion and frustration from so many previous failed efforts,” Friedman said.

Friedman told the paper that the administration is continuing to “calibrate” matters and is “cognizant of all the factors implicated by the roll out [of the plan]”, which is said to be scheduled for after Ramadan in June.

READ: In leaky White House, Trump team keeps Middle East peace plan secret

“The Palestinian people deserve the opportunity to consider a meaningful alternative to the status quo, as does Israel,” he said. “We see value in presenting that vision, even if the initial Palestinian leadership reaction is negative,” Friedman declared.

The ambassador, a long-time supporter of illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, claimed that the Trump administration would be approaching the issue from the point of view of a final framework, rather than incremental steps.

“Our view is that people need to understand the endgame before they begin,” he said.

“There have been many ‘bridges to nowhere’ precisely because everyone was focused on the process, even to the exclusion of the result,” he added.

READ: US Middle East peace plan to be released after Ramadan

“History tells us that this approach will continue to fail.”

Friedman told the paper that steps taken by the current administration should be irreversible by future US governments.

“I can’t get into a political discussion, but I strongly believe that what President Trump has done in this region should and will be preserved, well beyond his remaining (hopefully six) years in office.”

Asia & AmericasIsraelMiddle EastNewsPalestineUS
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