Amb. Friedman
Amb. FriedmanFlash 90

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman warned that Israel would miss diplomatic opportunities if the political parties fail to form a government following last month's elections.

In an interview with Makor Rishon, Friedman was asked whether the State of Israel had not missed the opportunity to, among other things, recognize Israeli sovereignty over territories in Judea and Samaria, and replied: "You have not missed the hour yet. You will miss it if you do not have a government."

"The dialogue we have with Israel is on a government-to-government basis, and as I see it, as long as you are in an election period, it is very difficult to sit down and discuss issues that are in the best interests of Israel and the US in the long term. The more we can precede and conduct these conversations, Free from all the daily hysteria of politics, the better," he said.

"The question of who sits in the government and who is in the coalition is in the hands of the Israeli voter, and we do not want to influence it, but we want to see a functioning government that can deal with issues that have long-term consequences so that we can move forward with them.

Friedman explained why the US peace plan was not published before the Israeli elections. "We think this is a long-term issue that should be discussed in a sober and comprehensive political atmosphere, because it involves Israel's long-term interests. During an election campaign, and without being critical of politicians, candidates are always looking for short-term opportunities to convince their electorate and get elected. It is not a healthy environment to have serious and long-term conversations of such significance."

The ambassador was asked if the plan would only be published after there was a government in Israel, and replied: "This is our preference, also because we want immediate response from the Israeli government, and for that purpose a government is needed."

Netanyahu's promise to apply Israeli law to the Jordan Valley if elected was not opposed by the Trump Administration. "We realized shortly before the declaration that he was going to declare it, and responded that this does not preclude a political solution. In my opinion, this needs to be further discussed in order to better understand the purpose, why annexation of the valley will contribute to Israel's security, and how it fits into a broader strategy to solve the problem rather than causing a continuation of the conflict."

"We have not yet had a discussion on the issue with Israel. We prefer that all issues related to Judea and Samaria be discussed comprehensively and comprehensively and not in a partial or fragmented manner, and we look forward to continuing talks with the Israeli government after the entire election process is over. We will address this with an open mind, but there is still a lot of work to do," he explained.