Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's adviser on Israel said on Wednesday that Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria are not illegal and he believes the candidate agrees with him.
Speaking to AFP after a rally in support of Trump in Jerusalem, the adviser, David Friedman, said the U.S. presidential candidate was "tremendously skeptical" about the prospects for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Asked whether Trump viewed Judea and Samaria as part of Israel, Friedman did not answer directly but did tell the news agency, "I don't think he believes that the settlements are illegal.”
Friedman reiterated in the interview that Trump would recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and move the U.S. embassy there, thus breaking with decades of precedent.
Friedman, who has expressed support for Israel several times in the past, on Tuesday gave an interview to Israel's Channel 2 News in which he rejected claims that Trump's supporters were anti-Semitic or anti-Israel, suggesting that those who think so – should look to the left.
His comments on Judea and Samaria are in line with comments he made in previous interviews. In May, Friedman told Arutz Sheva in an exclusive interview that Trump believes “that Israel should continue to build settlements. This is land that Israel has held for almost 50 years. The population of Judea and Samaria is 400,000 people. You add in East Jerusalem you have almost a million people. These people aren’t going anywhere and Israel’s not going to make the same mistake that it made in connection with the evacuation of Gaza.”
In another interview with Haaretz, Friedman said that as president, Trump could support Israel annexing parts of Judea and Samaria.
At Wednesday's rally in Jerusalem, a brief video message from Trump of about one minute was played.
"Together we will stand up to the enemies like Iran, bent on destroying Israel and her people," Trump said. "Together we will make America and Israel safe again."