US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, stated that the Palestinians would not benefit from Donald Trump’s plan to settle the Palestinian issue, known as the “deal of the century”, indicating that it is “a strong proposal that is good for America, Israel and the world.”
During an interview with the Jerusalem Post, on Sunday, Friedman added that the deal “will make Israel strong and safer, and it will be something that the entire pro-Israel community can embrace regardless of their religious persuasion.”
As for the designated date to activate the deal, Friedman conveyed: “I’m fairly confident it will be rolled out in 2019. I don’t want to be held to a week or month, but we are close to the finish line.”
However, Friedman hinted that the launch of the deal could be delayed until the formation of a government. “We want to roll it out in an environment where there is a government that can respond to it… We would like to deal with a formed government, so they are in a position to react and respond and talk to us about it.”
Friedman categorically denied that there had been a rift in US-Israeli relations recently, and played down the impact of the dismissal of former US national security adviser John Bolton, and said his successor would be “as wonderful as him”, as many others are pro-Israel.
Regarding the US’ lack of support to the statement made by the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, announcing Israel’s intention to annex the Jordan Valley and north of the Dead Sea after the elections, Friedman commented that the US administration prefers to deal with the annexation of the Jordan Valley and other regions “holistically”. He added: “The statements made by the prime minister are ones we don’t see as being inconsistent with a political solution, and so we kind of held our tongue because there was really nothing that called for comment beyond what we said. From our perspective, we want to deal with all these issues in the context of an overall resolution of the conflict, rather than piecemeal.”
Friedman expected that the United States would recognise the annexation of the Jordan Valley and north of the Dead Sea, as it did with the occupied Golan.
Friedman tried to calm the opponents of a possible US-Israeli mutual defence treaty, which Trump tweeted about, saying that “Conceptually it is to be limited, at least on the Israeli side, to existential risks.” He warned that “an attack on Israel could provoke an overwhelming response by the strongest nation on earth.”