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US: Israel missing out on opportunities because of delays in forming new government

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (L) meets with US ambassador to Israel David Friedman (C) upon his arrival at Ben Gurion International Airport, near the Israeli city of Tel Aviv on 20 March, 2019 [JIM YOUNG/AFP/Getty Images]
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (L) meets with US ambassador to Israel David Friedman (C) upon his arrival at Ben Gurion International Airport, near the Israeli city of Tel Aviv on 20 March, 2019 [JIM YOUNG/AFP/Getty Images]

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said yesterday that the peace plan dubbed the “deal of the century” will be announced after Israel forms a new government, Al-Quds newspaper reported.

Reporting Israeli TV Channel 7, the Arabic site said that the US Administration prefers a new “strong” and “active” Israeli government which would be able to respond to the peace deal.

“The peace deal needs to be discussed in a quiet and comprehensive political atmosphere because it includes a lot of issues of interests for the US and Israel in the long term,” Friedman said.

Friedman warned that Israel would miss diplomatic opportunities if the political parties fail to form a government following last month’s elections.

“You have not missed the hour yet. You will miss it if you do not have a government,” he said in an interview.

READ: ‘Israel likely to have third election soon’

Regarding Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s pledge to annex the occupied Jordan Valley if he heads the next government, Friedman said: “In my opinion, this needs to be further discussed in order to better understand the purpose, why annexation of the valley will contribute to Israel’s security, and how it fits into a broader strategy to solve the problem rather than causing a continuation of the conflict.”

“We will address this with an open mind, but there is still a lot of work to do.”

Israel has been faced with political turmoil after holding two general elections this year with neither providing a clear winner nor providing parties enough backing to lead a coalition government. The two leading parties, Netanyahu’s Likud and former Chief of Staff of the Israeli army Benny Gantz’s Blue and White (Kahol Lavan) alliance, have discussed forming a unity government to end the deadlock. This, however, comes with a number of conditions, with senior leaders in the alliance saying they would not sit in a Netanyahu-led government, adding weight to calls for a leadership election in Likud.

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