Mar. 14, 2019
- Referring to the Trump administration’s peace plan, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman explained, “There ought to be a means to get at least closer to a point where the Palestinians have more control over their lives in a way that doesn’t jeopardize Israel’s security.” The plan “will hopefully, if nothing else, provoke a serious discussion that hasn’t taken place in a long time.”
- Friedman has sought out business leaders and other nonpolitical figures in the West Bank to understand ways to improve Palestinians’ quality of life. “I’m happy to meet with Palestinians, even if they don’t agree with me or like me. Their thoughts and perspectives make me smarter, thoughtful, and more creative.”
- He views the U.S. embassy move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem last year as a shift in the U.S. message, that “this is not a conflict where the Palestinians have a veto on progress. At some point…things will move forward with or without them. The U.S. is not going to ignore reality. We are not going to indulge the Palestinians in the fantasy that somehow Jerusalem can be disconnected from Israel or the Jewish people….The idea that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel is a fact…a reality, not a negotiation point,” though its boundaries are negotiable.
- “The idea that one could approach this conflict with a sense of neutrality…is pretty insulting to Israel. The reason Israel holds the territory it holds today, in simple terms, is because it kept getting attacked, wars kept getting fought, and Israel kept winning. The reason Israel hasn’t given back all of it, and they gave back a lot, is because to give it away would be an existential risk to the country.” Friedman said any other way of looking at the conflict is trying to make peace based on an “alternative reality.”
- “The biggest danger in this part of the world is to be consumed with wishful thinking. You should see a better future down the road, but you can’t wish your way to that. You have to protect yourself along the way.”