Behind the scenes of the historic proclamation

On contacts and talks that preceded US declaration, Deputy FM says: 'All begins with our determination to uphold our rights.'

Shimon Cohen ,

Message of support. Hotovely and Friedman
Message of support. Hotovely and Friedman
Matty Stern/US Embassy Tel Aviv

Following the U.S. State Department's declaration Monday in which Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the Trump administration does not view Israeli towns in Judea and Samaria as being in violation of international law, Arutz Sheva spoke to Deputy Foreign Minister, Knesset Member Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) about the dramatic change in US policy, and the story behind Monday's declaration.

"This is an historic victory in our struggle for historical truth. This proves that when the State of Israel tells its truth the world recognizes it. In this term, the Foreign Ministry for the first time disseminated, following my directive and with the Prime Minister's backing, the legality of settlement document, and the more we stood up for our requirements and principles, we saw that the greatest world power went hand-in-hand with us on the most strategic and important issues. It's proof that it's all about perseverance and consistency."

On moves that preceded the U.S. announcement, she says there were indeed talks that prepared the ground for it: "When David Friedman took office as U.S. Ambassador to Israel, we had an in-depth conversation and I asked about prospects for an historic change in Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria policy, and he said it should be done in steps. The first phase is Jerusalem and the change will come later."

"There were a lot of talks, by Dermer, myself, by the Prime Minister, and political activity at ambassador level. We pushed for it to be our legacy to lead a change in relation to settlements and the lie of the 'occupation'. We saw this happen step by step, first, in a statement by the State Department that the settlements were not an obstacle to peace, then that the U.S. ambassador came to events across the Green Line as opposed to his predecessors, then the attitude toward Jerusalem and moving the embassy and there was progress in these directions, they no longer used the term 'occupation' and terminology changed. Even in the Deal of the Century, it's clear that Jewish settlements will remain in place."

Hotovely emphasized in her remarks that "David Friedman played an important role during this time. He is an ideological player who came on a very sympathetic U.S. government mission and had a significant contribution in this regard and should be commended for it."

On PA reactions according to which the U.S. is forfeiting its status as a fair mediator, the Deputy Minister says: "This isn't about the recent declaration. From the moment Trump began his tenure the Palestinians boycotted him and considered him pro-Israeli. Those who think the problem of the Palestinians is the identity of the ruling party in the United States should be reminded that the big explosion was in the Obama and Kerry era, the most positive era for them when they didn't allow Jews to build even one brick in Judea and Samaria. Even then, they didn't deign to come and talk, so they can't come with clean hands. They're serially contumacious."