Ambassador Friedman: The peace agreement was not to be missed

US Ambassador: Sovereignty is not off the table. I'm convinced that one day communities in Judea and Samaria will become part of Israel.

Ben Ariel ,

David Friedman
David Friedman

The US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, explained on Thursday why it was necessary to suspend the Israeli plan to apply sovereignty in Judea and Samaria in order to enable the historic peace agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.

In a conversation with the Israel Hayom newspaper, Friedman said that "the words in the joint statement were carefully chosen. It is no coincidence that the term 'suspension' was used. Sovereignty is not off the table and I am convinced that one day the Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria will become part of the State of Israel.”

"We published the vision of peace and we are committed to it, including to the element that turns some of the territories of Judea and Samaria into Israeli ones," the Ambassador said, noting that "sovereignty is suspended but I do not want to specify a date or say for how long."

Speaking with the newspaper in a phone call from the White House, the Ambassador added that "President Trump recognized an opportunity (to reach an agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates) and we had to decide what the priorities are. It was impossible to implement the two things (sovereignty and agreement) at the same time. This is a peace agreement that will be of great importance to Israel and was not to be missed.”

Earlier on Thursday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu insisted that the agreement with the UAE did not mark the end of his sovereignty plan, but is merely a temporary delay.

“Just as I promised I would bring peace with the Arab world…I also said that I would apply sovereignty over parts of Judea and Samaria. There is no change in my plan to apply sovereignty in Judea and Samaria in full coordination with the US. That hasn’t changed,” he said.

“I always said that the implementation of the sovereignty plan would only take place in coordination with the US. Declaring sovereignty without US support would at best be worthless, and worst would seriously hurt the settlements and the State of Israel,” added Netanyahu.

Later on Thursday, Trump asserted that Israel agreed not to apply sovereignty over Judea and Samaria as part of the historic agreement to normalize ties with the United Arab Emirates.

“Israel agreed not to annex parts of the West Bank. It is more than taking it off the table – they agreed not to do it. This is a very smart concession by Israel. It is off the table now,” he told reporters at the White House.