'Everyone knows Israel's not
leaving all of Judea and Samaria'
By: Arutz Sheva
Date: June 26th,
American Ambassador to Israel David Friedman expressed
optimism Wednesday regarding the US-led peace summit in Bahrain, where the Trump
administration unveiled its economic plans for promoting peace in the Middle
Speaking with Efi Trigger on Army Radio - Galey
Tzahal Wednesday morning, Friedman said the summit was "heading in
the right direction", despite the Palestinian Authority's boycott of the
“Things are heading in the right direction, we're getting
a good showing in Bahrain with Gulf states, Egypt, and Jordan in attendance,
several Israeli businessman, and even a Palestinian showing; not as many as
there should, but it's a good first step and I look forward to good things.”
“What can we achieve, the real missing ingredient is
Palestinian participation. Their absence is a shame, we're scratching our heads
and it's difficult to understand what downside there is to the Palestinians and
what risks, as the conference is for one purpose - to better Palestinian life
opportunities. No one's asking why they're not there, but it doesn't mean that
we all stop what were doing and wait for them because it could be a long
Regarding the three-way US, Russia, Israel meeting and a
possible escalation; President Trump spoke of "obliteration"?
"Israel has been concerned about Iran as they are
always a cause for concern, and we concur; we're doing the best we can to
mitigate it. The 3-way meeting was really good, I was in attendance. There were
disagreements, not so much between Israel and the US, but with Russia; but the
dialogue was thoughtful and respectful. The Russians are looking for solutions
as well. In Bahrain they're also looking for solutions in a different
Should we expect a unified Russian/US to call to get
Iran out of Syria?
"I think Iran has to get out of Syria; under what
circumstances, time frames we don't know but the pressure is working; we hope it
will continue working and we'll get the right result."
Back to Bahrain, Friedman said: "It's not our phrase,
we never used 'Deal of the Century' - we're not so cavalier how we describe it;
we'll come out with scenarios of a political vision; we'll assess the timing and
look again after Bahrain is over, speak to the President and Israeli government.
How do we avoid animosity with Palestinian leadership? We know what it looks
like but were still assessing."
Do you still stand by your statement to the NYT that
Israel has a right to annex Judea and Samaria?
"I stand behind my words to the NYT 100 percent; it
has been American policy and expectation for the last 20-30 years; everybody
knows there's no scenario when Israel will leave the entire Judea and Samaria;
as long as I've been conceptualizing this issue.”
Is it a departure from US policy to let Netanyahu annex
parts of Judea and Samaria?
"No plan was presented with regard to annexation; no
unilateral discussions; we will deal with it if and when it comes up, we'll do
analysis, and I won't speculate on what will be in the future."