Friedman: Peace plan preserves Israel's sovereignty over its biblical heartland

US Ambassador to Israel says Trump's peace plan will both preserve Israel's democracy and give Palestinian Arabs a chance to flourish.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

David Friedman
David Friedman
Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman says that the newly unveiled Middle East peace plan is a proposal that will both preserve Israel's democracy and give Palestinian Arabs a chance to flourish.

"There's a lot here for everybody," Friedman told CBN News in an interview in Washington, DC, shortly after the so-called “Deal of the Century” was unveiled by President Donald Trump.

"It will preserve Israel's sovereignty over its biblical heartland and it will create an opportunity for the Palestinians to live in peace and dignity and prosperity…We think we threaded the needle. It's a tough needle to thread but we'd like to think we got there," he added.

Responding to the Palestinian Authority (PA) leadership’s outright rejection of the plan, Friedman said he knew the initial response would not be a good one.

"The fact that they're not jumping for joy right now is not a great surprise to us," he said, but added he believes there's hope among the Palestinians themselves.

"The people within the territories, they are suffering. This was designed to, if not regain or obtain the trust of the leadership, at least to obtain the interest of the Palestinian people. The leadership has failed the Palestinian people for generations. They've become pawns in larger conflicts and the leadership has shown itself to be very adept at misdirecting the resources of the territory to their own pockets,” Friedman explained.

While the United States' plan for Middle East peace includes a “two-state solution”, Friedman made clear that Palestinian Statehood will come with conditions, such as efforts to make sure groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad disarm and stop paying terrorists to carry out attacks against Israelis.

"There's a pathway to Palestinian statehood but it holds the Palestinians accountable," Friedman said. That pathway has a runway of four years – time for the Palestinians to decide if they're serious about peace. The plan itself is a serious one even detailing actual territorial dimensions for a Palestinian state. "What this plan does is it presents a hard offer to the Palestinians," says Friedman.

The Ambassador also pointed out that the US plan protects Judea and Samaria in Israel’s favor.

"The plan contemplates that the United States will recognize Israeli sovereignty over all the Jewish communities, all the settlements within Judea and Samaria so they will be incorporated into Israel. No one will have to evacuate their homes," he stressed.

Asked why the Trump Administration felt it was important to make sure Israel had final authority and control over Judea and Samaria, Friedman replied, "This area is in a very volatile part of the world and the last thing the world needs, the last thing the region needs is a failed Palestinian state overcome by ISIS, al-Qaeda or Hezbollah or somebody else.”

"So the fact that Israel retains its military overriding responsibility from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean gives me some comfort both from a political and security perspective but also from a religious perspective, that there is no retreat by the Jewish state from biblical territory," he added.