David Friedman: We're not threatening Israel, we're just asking for patience

Israel can apply sovereignty even if no clear winner emerges in election, US Ambassador says, urging Israel to wait until after election.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

David Friedman at the Jerusalem Center
David Friedman at the Jerusalem Center
Reuven Ben Haim

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman urged Israeli leaders to be patient and hold back on plans to immediately apply sovereignty to Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria, while adding that earlier comments calling Israel to hold back on unilateral action were not intended as a threat.

Speaking at a conference hosted by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs Sunday, Friedman clarified a tweet in which he said unilateral Israeli actions in Judea and Samaria could ‘endanger’ the Trump administration’s Middle East peace plan, saying no threat was intended in the message.

“It was not a threat,” said Friedman.

The ambassador said Israel should show a “a little bit of patience” to allow Israel and US officials to complete the mapping process, setting the precise boundaries in Judea and Samaria where Israel will be permitted to apply sovereignty under the US peace plan.

“A little bit of patience, to go through a process, to do it right, is not something which we think is too much to ask for”.

“With the news out that the (Israeli) cabinet was about to be pushed in a direction that was potentially adverse to our view of the process, we just let people know where we stand.”

Friedman went on to say that the mapping process was unlikely to be completed before Israel’s March 2nd general election.

But he held out the possibility of implementation even if the election does not produce a clear winner, as was the case twice in the last year.

A U.S. Embassy spokesperson emphasized: "Ambassador Friedman has said consistently that the first step is the committee mapping process. He said nothing different in his tweet this morning or at the event at JCPA today.”

Earlier on Sunday, Friedman called on Israel to hold off on any unilateral action - in particular application of sovereignty in Judea and Samaria - saying that the precise boundaries to be placed under Israeli law still needed to be delineated by a joint US-Israeli commission.

President Trump’s Vision for Peace is the product of more than three years of close consultations among the President, PM Netanyahu and their respective senior staff. As we have stated, the application of Israeli law to the territory which the Plan provides to be part of Israel is subject to the completion a mapping process by a joint Israeli-American committee.

"Any unilateral action in advance of the completion of the committee process endangers the Plan & American recognition."