Friedman: I'll continue to push for moving US embassy

Despite comments by Trump saying US will 'give peace a chance' before moving embassy, Ambassador Friedman restates support for embassy move.

Ido Ben Porat ,

פרידמן וסמוטריץ' בישיבת שדרות
פרידמן וסמוטריץ' בישיבת שדרות
צילום: דוברות

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman took part Sunday in a cornerstone laying ceremony for the new dormitory of the Yeshivat Hesder Sderot in southern Israel, along with MK Bezalel Smotrich (Jewish Home) and Sderot Mayor Alon Davidi.

During the ceremony, Smotrich addressed President Donald Trump’s recent remarks regarding the proposed relocation of the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

On Saturday, President Trump told former Arkansas Governor and 2008 and 2016 GOP presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee that he would hold off on moving the embassy in order to give his push to reboot negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority “a shot”.

“I want to give that a shot before I even think about moving the embassy to Jerusalem,” Trump said. “If we can make peace between the Palestinians and Israel, I think it’ll lead to ultimately peace in the Middle East, which has to happen,” he added.

Smotrich called upon Friedman, a noted backer of the proposed embassy relocation, to raise the issue with President Trump.

“I heard that the president wants to give negotiations a chance before he moves the embassy to Jerusalem, as if moving the embassy would hurt the chances for peace,” said Smotrich.

“If there is something that could bring peace, it’s relocating the embassy to Jerusalem, thus sending the clear message that there is no chance whatsoever of an Arab state being established in the Land of Israel.”

“The time has come to understand that there are two conflicting national aspirations here that have absolutely zero chance of coexisting together. The Palestinian national movement was established in order to oppose Zionism, and there is no chance at all that it will recognize [Zionism] or make peace with it.”

Turning to Friedman, Smotrich said: “We’re relying on you, Mr. Ambassador. Help us get this message to President Trump.’

In his response, Friedman made clear that his position on the US embassy remained the same, and that he would continue to promote its relocation to Jerusalem.