US Ambassador: Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria ‘part of Israel’

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman supports the legal rights of Jewish communities beyond the 1967 boundaries, signaling a fresh approach to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In an expansive interview with Israeli media outlet Walla!, the US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, provided insight into the direction the US envisions for Israel as the Jewish state navigates shifting alliances in the region and its approach to resolving the Palestinian conflict. Among the topics Friedman addressed were Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria and the future of the two-state solution.

With regard to the first point, Friedman explained, “I think the settlements are part of Israel,” which “was always the expectation when [UN] Resolution 242 was adopted.” Friedman added, “The 1967 borders were viewed by everybody as not secure. There was always supposed to be some expectation of [Israeli] expansion” into Judea and Samaria.

Friedman referred to the “important nationalistic, historical, and religious significance”of these communities, commenting, “I think the settlers view themselves as Israelis, and Israel views the settlers as Israelis.”

When asked about the prospects for moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem, Friedman reiterated to Walla! that it was a question of “when not if,” and stressed that “most importantly [the US would] recognize Jerusalem as the eternal capital of the state of Israel and of the Jewish people.”

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In discussing the broader geopolitical landscape for Israel in the year 2017, Friedman identified “more interest and flexibility in the Arab world generally,” commenting that “there are natural alliances between Israel and the Gulf, and Egypt and Jordan, that didn’t exist ten years ago and those are going to be an important factor in contributing to opportunities.”

When pressed on the fate of the “two-state solution,” Friedman responded, “Conceivably I think that phrase has largely lost it’s meaning … it’s not a helpful term because it just doesn’t mean the same thing to different people.” Friedman concluded, “The solution comes first, then we deal with the label.”

By: World Israel News Staff